Gloria Arroyo thanks Duterte, justices: 'Have faith in justice system'

MANILA, Philippines – Former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo thanked the Supreme Court justices as well as President Rodrigo Duterte for "allowing due process to take its course totally unhampered."

In a statement on Tuesday, July 19 after the High Court ruled 11-4 to dismiss the plunder case against her, Arroyo said: "Keep the faith in the justice system."

The former president was charged in 2012 before the anti-graft Sandiganbayan over the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds during the latter part of her administration. (READ: Timeline: Gloria Arroyo – from plunder to acquittal)

"First and foremost, to God Almighty be all the glory and praise. Through His kindness and mercy, justice and righteousness have once again prevailed over injustice and wrongdoing," said Arroyo, who on Tuesday afternoon waited for her release orders at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City, where she is being held.

Arroyo sent her "heartfelt appreciation" to Duterte for allowing her case to "take its course totally unhampered." (READ: Panelo, Dureza praise SC verdict on Arroyo)

She also thanked the SC justices "for finally stopping the persecution that had unjustly gone through for the last 5 years."

Arroyo is suffering from multiple cervical spondylosis or the wearing off of the bones.

Accept verdict

On Tuesday, Arroyo called on the public to accept the truth now that she has been acquitted.

“With the High Tribunal rendering a final decision on this unfortunate episode, I sincerely hope that everyone will respect and recognize the truth that has been established,” said Arroyo, who also thanked her supporters for their "unending" moral support.

“It is my fervent hope that nobody else will suffer the persecution that had been levied on me through self-serving interpretation and implementation of the law. And that the disregard of truth for which I was made to suffer be dealt with accordingly at the soonest possible time,” she added.

One of her legal counsels Estelito Mendoza, who was also former solicitor general, said Arroyo feels "beyond vindication, beyond joy" because of the SC ruling. 

"What is significant about it is that she did not have to present any evidence, which means from inception, there was no basis for her to be imprisoned and detained," Mendoza told reporters.

"Her charge has been used as a political matter every time the president (former President Benigno Aquino III) explains his achievements. Her imprisonment is cited as one of its primary accomplishments," he added.

No revenge

Mendoza also said he doubts if Arroyo is thinking of revenge.

"Well, I don't think we should talk about getting back at anybody. That is not the way it should be. Remember what our father says, 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,'" said the veteran lawyer.

"I think GMA [Arroyo] will follow that mandate. She is a good Christian, and unfortunately, even good Christians go through a calvary," he added. 

Mendoza said Arroyo is joined by her relatives as well as close friends and associates inside the VMMC while waiting for her release order. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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