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For Immediate Release
25 July 2011
Akbayan to seek life sentence for GMA
Akbayan solons call on Arroyo to save Congress the shame, go on leave
Hours before President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), Akbayan Party announced its plans to file plunder charges against the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. In a press conference at Congress, Akbayan Representatives Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao, joined by former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, declared that “success of the tuwid na landas will partially be characterized with the former administration being made accountable to all its crimes.”
Hontiveros announced the group’s plan to file plunder charges against Arroyo with the Ombudsman on Tuesday regarding the malversation of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence fund. The group will be joined by former Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim and anti-corruption advocate Jimmy Regalario in seeking the life sentence for Arroyo’s corrupt leadership. Former Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio also took part in the preparations of the plunder case.
“More than ever, Arroyo, her family and cohorts must be made to account for their colossal crimes against the people. Being the most immediate and dangerous enemies of the people, they deserve no less than the life sentence,” former Representative Risa Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros said the coming forward of personalities wanting to expose the election irregularities of Arroyo should reopen the unfinished and unresolved issues of cheating in previous elections and expose the widespread syndicate of election fixing and fraud in the government. This brings the nation closer to exacting accountability from Arroyo and former first gentleman (FG) Mike Arroyo.
“Bilang na ang mga araw ni Gng.Arroyo at ni FG,” Hontiveros added. “The Aquino administration has set the momentum for the crackdown on corruption, and whistle-blowers are coming out left and right. Akbayan joins the Filipino people in making sure that justice will be served.”
GMA urged to take Leave of Absence
The Party’s incumbent representatives urged Arroyo to take a leave of absence from Congress while investigations into grand-scale corruption perpetrated by the previous administration and the first family are under way.
“As more and more anomalies involving Arroyo and the former first family surface, it is but prudent for Arroyo to take a leave of absence and save the 15th Congress the shame of having an alleged criminal in the halls of the legislature,” Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said.
According to Bello, the z5th Congress has done much to transform the image of the Lower House from what was the previous administration’s rubber stamp of approval for corruption and abuse of power to a law-making body that genuinely represents the people’s interest.
“Kung nakilala ang 14th Congress sa pag-aalaga sa mga interes ni Gng.Arroyo at ni FG, ang 15th Congressnaman ngayon ay nakikilala sa pagtataguyod ng tunay interes ng mamayang Pilipino. Delicadeza lang naman ang hinihingi natin kay Gng.Arroyo,” Bello continued. “As scandal after scandal reveal the intricacies of corruption in the previous administration, the risk that Congress becomes tainted as housing criminals increases. Mrs. Arroyo should save us all the trouble and just go on leave.”
For her part, Akbayan Congresswoman Kaka Bag-ao also emphasized that swift and effective resolution of corruption cases will be hampered by Mrs. Arroyo’s continued presence in Congress.
“Arroyo maintains power as she sits in Congress, her allies within easy reach,” Bag-ao pointed out.
Bag-ao also warned of Arroyo’s presence as a potentially divisive, especially as investigations have yet to reach its climax, which would hamper the people’s quest for truth and justice
“Marami pa ring mga ka-alyado si Gng.Arroyo sa Kongreso. Kapag nag-kainitan na sa mga exposé, hindi malabong magka-bitak-bitak ang Kongreso ayon sa mga alyansang ito,” Bag-ao pointed out. “Masasagasaan ng pamumulitika ang paghahanap natin ng hustisya.”
Akbayan asserted that for all these considerations, it is most appropriate for Arroyo to retreat into private life as high-profile cases of graft and corruption are being investigated.
“We look forward to this year being the year Gloria and her cohorts finally end up behind cold bars of a jail cell. We call on Pres. Aquino to remain firm in digging for the truth behind the series of anomalies involving the previous government. The people are solidly behind him on this matter,” Akbayan concluded. ###