MANILA, Philippines – Once the country’s most powerful woman, what does Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wish for 2012 now that she is detained and awaiting even more charges?
“Sobriety,” says her husband’s lawyer Ferdinand Topacio. “We hope that the present administration reflects and sees that what they are doing, if only to show the intent to fulfill their election promise of going against supposed grafters, is not worth the destruction of our democratic and republican institutions.”
Topacio admits, though, that Arroyo’s wish is unlikely to come true. All the same, the Pampanga representative and her family will celebrate the start of a new year.
“They will spend it in the usual manner that the average Filipino family spends New Year, with the media noche, with close family around the dinner table. The only difference is that they have to spend it at the Veterans Memorial [Medical Center] for obvious reasons.”
Arroyo asked the Pasay City Regional Trial Court to spend the New Year holiday at her home in Quezon City but Presiding Judge Jesus Mupas is on leave and was unable to act on the request. Arroyo also spent Christmas in detention.
The Pasay RTC is hearing Arroyo’s electoral sabotage case. This case led to her arrest in November, making her the second Philippine president in recent history to be arrested.
Out of jail in 2012?
Topacio says that while the Aquino administration achieved its goal to put Arroyo in jail by Christmas, the former first couple’s lawyers are working to ensure that will no longer be the case.
“We will be filing a motion to withdraw the information before the Pasay RTC, and other remedies. If the Supreme Court invalidates the DOJ-Comelec panel, immediately, [the case] will be resolved because all of the official acts of that panel will be null and void, including the filing of the information.”
The high court is expected to decide by mid-January on the constitutionality of the panel that charged Arroyo with electoral sabotage.
Even if the charges are dismissed, the Arroyos are expecting more cases from the administration. “We are looking at this from the point of view of the long haul, not just the electoral sabotage but other cases thrown our way. They will throw everything at us, including the toilet bowl I’m sure.”
Writing like an Assumptionista
Topacio says Arroyo tries to make the most out of her stay in the government hospital.
“I don’t think one really adjusts to a life of incarceration. I think it’s more of her just resigning to the fact and drawing strength from her faith. I think she has had time for reflection and she’s now really determined to write her memoirs.”
Arroyo’s memoir is tentatively titled Another Stone for the Edifice as a follow-up to her father’s book. Former President Diosdado Macapagal called his memoir A Stone for the Edifice.
After the court barred her from using computers, Arroyo makes do with pen and paper.
“I’ve seen samples of her handwriting. They’re very nice. I believe she was from Assumption. One of the trademarks of an Assumptionista is really the beautiful handwriting. When she gave me tocino last holidays, she wrote, ‘Thank you for everything you have done.’ Ang ganda ng sulat eh (the writing was really neat).”
New Year messages
Topacio, who attracts controversy for his soundbites and Hitler fascination, gave his own New Year messages for his critics and for the country’s top newsmakers:
– For President Aquino?
“If you really want to go after graft and corruption, there are so many ways without running roughshod over the constitution.”
– For impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona?
“All I can tell the chief justice, my fellow Batangueño, is that the decent elements of society, those who understand what the judiciary is all about, we are all behind you. And the Senate, they had better be fair in treating your trial, otherwise, as we say in Batangas, maghahalo ang balat sa tinalupan!
– For critics of his “ball” soundbite?
“I don’t know why that was hyped. In our province, madalas naman talagang sabihin iyon. May mas malala pa nga doon eh pero alangan naman on national television, sabihin ko ang ‘B word’?”
– For Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
“The message would be to stand firm and not to be discouraged because in accordance with the old saying, ‘God sees the truth but waits.'” – Rappler.com