'Disheartening,' Grace Poe says of Gloria Arroyo's rise to Speaker
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe expressed dismay at the election of former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Arroyo as House Speaker.
Poe said it is disheartening that Arroyo, who had been accused of corruption and fraud during her presidency from 2001 to 2010, is again holding one of the top positions in the country.
“Hindi ko na siguro kailangang ipaalala sa ating mga kababayan ang mga kaganapan nu’ng kanyang termino. Maraming akusasyon ng katiwalian at nakita natin kung paano ang nangyari sa kanyang pamamalakad,” Poe told reporters on Monday, July 23, after President Rodrigo Duterte’s 3rd State of the Nation Address.
(I don't have to remind our countrymen what happened during her term. There were many accusations of corruption and we saw what happened under her.)
Poe’s father, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr, ran and lost to Arroyo in the 2004 presidential election widely believed to be rigged.
In 2005, Poe returned to the country from the United States and became a key personality in anti-Arroyo protests, especially after the "Hello, Garci" controversy, wherein Arroyo was allegedly heard ordering an elections commissioner to fabricate votes in her favor.
“Diumano may sakit daw pero ngayon maaari na mamuno. Parang nakakapanghina rin ng loob lalong-lalo na doon sa atin na nakikipaglaban na dapat may hustisya sa ating bayan,” Poe said.
(She was allegedly sick but now she is capable of leading the House. It's disheartening especially for us who are fighting for justice in our country.)
The SONA was delayed for over an hour due to the resulting impasse between the camps of Arroyo and House leader Pantaleon Alvarez on the speakership.
Poe questioned the Duterte administration’s anti-corruption drive with Arroyo’s installation as Speaker. Duterte and Arroyo are allies.
“Kung seryoso talaga laban sa korapsyon, siguro hindi tayo aabot sa puntong ganito… Paano mo siya mai-implementa sapagkat marami sa gobyerno na kurakot na nakakalusot. ‘Yung iba nga diyan napo-promote,” Poe said.
(If the fight against corruption were really serious, we would not have reached this point. How can you implement it when many corrupt officials get away with it?)
In 2016, Grace Poe ran for president and vowed that she would treat allies and rivals, including the then-detained Arroyo, fairly. (READ: Grace Poe: I’ll let courts, doctors decide on Gloria Arroyo)
Progressive lawmakers forming the Makabayan bloc also opposed Arroyo’s speakership, calling her a murderer and plunderer.
Aside from the Hello Garci controversy, Arroyo was linked to the misuse of multi-billion-peso Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds, the NBN-ZTE deal, and the fertilizer fund scam, among others.
Arroyo was jailed for the most part of the Aquino administration. She gained freedom under Duterte and was cleared of all charges against her. – Rappler.com