MANILA, Philippines – How do you solve a problem like Maria when she is Ma. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
For Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Ricardo A. David Jr., the answer should come from the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division.
In a letter sent to the graft court on Thursday, January 5, David said that based on her passport the full name of the detained former President now Pampanga representative is “Ma. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.” Attached to his letter was a photocopy of Arroyo’s passport culled from the bureau’s travel records.
This creates a problem, he said, since the Hold Departure Order issued by the Sandiganbayan on Jan. 2, 2012 was against “Gloria M. Macapagal-Arroyo.”
“…(I)n order to avoid confusion in the implementation of the aforesaid Hold Departure Order and effectively carry out the purpose for which it was issued, we would like to seek your guidance on whether or not to amend the said Hold Departure Order to coincide with the name that appears in her passport,” David said in his letter.
However, Acting Associate Commissioner Abdullah S. Mangotara has already issued a single-page directive last January 2 for the inclusion of Rep. Arroyo, her husband Jose Miguel T. Arroyo, Benjamin S. Abalos Sr. and Leandro R. Mendoza in the BI’s Hold Departure List.
The order was likewise forwarded to the Airport Operations Division and the Immigration Regulation Division chiefs with a specific instruction to “prevent the departure of the above named respondent”.
Rep. Arroyo was charged with two counts of graft and one case for violation of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Named as her co-accused in the first graft case were her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo, former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. and former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.
The Ombudsman alleged they conspired to bind the government in a “grossly and manifest disadvantageous” contract with Chinese firm ZTE Corp concerning the scrapped US$329 million national broadband network project.
Arroyo’s second graft case involves her alleged unlawful interest in pushing for the approval of the NBN project in pursuit of “personal gain” while the ethics charge pertains to the prosecution’s claim that she accepted a favor from ZTE Corp in the form of a golf game and lunch when the Chinese firm was seeking endorsement for its NBN proposal. – Rappler.com