“Cut The Losses,” Let GMA Go!

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – I really do not blame President Noynoy Aquino if he is too slow in allowing his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to leave the Philippines to consult the medical doctor of her choice to treat her ailment.

Mrs. Arroyo is being charged with six plunder charges. A plunder charge means that Arroyo personally amassed at least over 50-Million pesos (US$1.1-Million) by misusing or abusing her position.

One of the plunder charges was the alleged transfer of overseas 550-Million pesos (US$13-Million) workers’ fund to the state’s medical care system, which is some kind of juggling of funds. The other is the conversion of 728-Million pesos (US$17.3-million) fertilizer funds into campaign fund, which is actually an election offense violation, like vote-buying; another is the transfer of 325-Million (US$7.7-Million) Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office fund to her own intelligence fund; P72 million (US$1.7-Million) in capital gains tax was not collected from the sale of the old Iloilo City airport to Megaworld; and her alleged involvement in the cancelled $329-million national broadband network (NBN) contract with Chinese firm ZTE Corp. in 2006.

Mrs. Arroyo is also charged with rigging the 2007 election to make sure all her favored senators would win in that election and did!


All these charges would have been leveled against her if she were not president. But under the law, these charges can only be filed against her when she is no longer president. That’s why it is only now that charges against Arroyo are starting to build up.

But since all these charges are only in the preliminary hearings, the Philippine prosecutors (Department of Justice) are still determining if there is probable cause to file charges against Mrs. Arroyo. This means Mrs. Arroyo is still innocent.

For this reason, Mrs. Arroyo would like her hypoparathyroidism be treated by a medical doctor of her choice abroad although her detractors believe there are doctors in the Philippines who could treat her ailment.

But a choice of doctor is a personal choice of the patient so that in case something bad happens to her during her treatment, nobody would be blamed but the patient alone.

Because Mrs. Arroyo is not yet charged or indicted, I believe President Aquino should not oppose Arroyo’s medical trip abroad. Mrs. Arroyo has every right to travel.

In fact, because majority members of the Philippine Supreme Court are Arroyo appointees, it is very likely that Mrs. Arroyo will likely be allowed to take a medical trip.

If Mrs. Arroyo will not return because she likes to escape what her camp says “persecution,” so be it. There is nothing President Aquino can do.


So, in order for him to save face, President Aquino can reverse the decision of his Secretary of Justice (Leila de Lima) by withdrawing De Lima’s opposition to Arroyo’s travel before the Supreme Court in what crises managers call “damage control.” He can use the so-called “prosecutorial discretion” to “cut his losses.”

Why give Mrs. Arroyo the benefit of gloating over her impending victory in the Supreme Court if he still can help it? He can just call it “miscalculation” or “misstep” done in good faith. After all, everybody, including President Aquino and Mrs. Arroyo, is human.

But if Mrs. Arroyo really wants to save a lot of money and at the same time make her situation worry-free for President Aquino, she can ask her doctor overseas if she can be diagnosed by remote-control thru “Skype.”

If the doctor orders a biopsy then she can let her favorite doctor in the Philippines remove a part of her tissue and have the tissue flown via “Fedex,” “DHL” or “UPS” to a laboratory of her choice anywhere in the world for testing.

If this is not possible then if the medical equipment needed to diagnose the tissue is affordable, then, the medical equipment can be imported to the Philippines upon payment of required import taxes, like what happened to former President Tita Cory.

If still this is not possible, then Mrs. Aquino can travel, wherever she may want.

If Mrs. Arroyo wants to further assure President Aquino that she is coming back, she can even sign a waiver that in case she does not return, she is providing President Aquino the specimens of her signature and her husband, former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, that President Aquino is authorized to access their accounts in banks and other security investment houses in the Philippines and abroad and they can seize any assets that they can find in favor of the government under the “fruit of the poisonous tree” principle.

I believe Mrs. Arroyo, despite her lies that she was not running for president in 2004 and her remorseful admission of the “Hello Garci” scandal, is going to return. Why?

If she seeks asylum in other countries, she is just like in virtual prison. Just ask Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, accused of human rights violations and corruption, who travelled to London, England for medical treatment; former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who fled to Japan amidst corruption scandal; and former Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown for corruption. They all wanted to return to their homelands to die.

I believe even President Marcos wanted to die in the Philippines but he was not allowed to do so. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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