EXCLUSIVE: Arroyo has no vendetta on enemies

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 24 2016 03:52 PM | Updated as of Jul 26 2016 08:30 AM

Arroyo makes first public appearance on ABS-CBN


MANILA -- (UPDATED) Three days after being freed from detention, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo shared Sunday that she will start the next chapter of her life without any rancor on her enemies.

Speaking with ABS-CBN News for her first public appearance and interview, Arroyo said, "I don't wish what happened to me on my worst enemies."

The 69-year-old Arroyo, who is currently Pampanga representative, added that any resentment she has is not personal, but is directed at the country's flawed justice system.

"You know, as I said earlier, I’m a devout Catholic, so any rancor I feel is not first hand. The rancor that I feel is precisely what I was saying earlier: the justice system, political persecution using the justice system that must stop," she said during the exclusive interview in her La Vista home in Quezon City.

Arroyo insisted that the use of criminal justice system for political persecution must end with her. "Let me be the last victim of persecution during the justice system," she said.

"A lot of injustice -- to begin with the detention itself -- was unjust... What I learned from that is this whole thing of political power to persecute political enemies, that must stop," she added.

In 2015, Arroyo’s camp filed a case with a United Nations panel to complain of the alleged human rights abuses she suffered under the administration of President Benigo Aquino III, who pursued the filing of cases against her.

Arroyo said she hopes that the government will establish a fair process for holding government officials accountable of alleged wrongdoing.

"I must be the last victim, let me be the last victim. I’m not saying that political figures should be immune from prosecution. What I’m saying is that the process should be fair and even handed," she said.

Arroyo's ordeal also affected her relationship with her friends, as well as the people around her. Some of those who were with her during better days were nowhere to be found during her low times.

"Oh, (I've) been there, (I've) been there. I was not surprised because remember, my father was president of the Philippines, and then (Ferdinand) Marcos came in, so especially when martial law was declared, we saw that exodus of friends. And then they came around when I became senator, and then especially they came around when I became president," she said.

"But you know, it happened to my father, I was not surprised that it would happen to me, especially because of the persecution. Not only was I persecuted, my allies were persecuted. People identified with me were persecuted," Arroyo added.

Arroyo was slapped by the Ombudsman in July 2012 with a P366-million plunder case in connection with the alleged misuse of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

She was detained at the Veterans' Memorial Medical Center in the same year up until the Supreme Court (SC) junked the charges against her last Tuesday.

On the order of the high court, she walked free from VMMC on Thursday and proceeded to her Quezon City home.

Arroyo’s full interview will be made available soon on ABS-CBN and its various platforms.

TIMELINE: The Arroyo plunder case