'Arroyos won't shun DOJ, Comelec probes'

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2011 04:49 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2011 03:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband will cooperate with any investigation by the Commission on Elections and Department of Justice on alleged fraud in the 2004 and 2007 elections.

Raul Lambino, Arroyo's legal spokesman, said the former President and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, have always been cooperative in answering allegations hurled against them by complainants and the government.

"As I said, we will respond to charges in proper forum...Let's wait for the processes that would be embarked by Comelec and DOJ, which under the Constitution and the law are now the only institutions authorized and have jurisdiction to conduct an investigation of alleged election irregularities," he said.

Earlier reports said the Comelec may subpoena Arroyo to testify on the allegations of suspended ARMM governor Zaldy Ampatuan and former election supervisor Lintang Bedol that she rigged both the 2004 and 2007 elections.

Lambino said he has yet to see a sworn statement from Bedol about his allegations.

The spokesman reiterated that Arroyo has no interest in appearing before congressional investigations.

“We don’t see any reason why we would be investigating...If you’re talking about the same issue of election fraud, I don’t see any particular legislative measure as basis of investigation of alleged fraud in 2004 and 2007. Remember, during those 2 elections, we were still under manual election systems. We have begun with automated mode of voting," he said.

'Prostitution of justice system'

Lambino said the recent exposés are just part of the Aquino administration’s political vendetta against the former leader, as well efforts to gain media mileage for Monday’s State of the Nation Address.

He reiterated that the administration has been vilifying Arroyo in the media to condition the minds of the public even before a formal investigation can begin.

“I don’t just feel, I can see it. This is political vendetta…Very alarming and very dangerous statement. These will result into prostituting the justice system of this country. By publicly trying an individual and convicting an individual, this is not helping the country," he said.

He said even the accusation that the Arroyos were frequent users of 2 helicopters sold to the Philippine National Police smacks of a Palace plot to vilify the former President's family.

Lambino said the electoral ambitions of some politicians could also be fueling the allegations.

“We don’t see any value except to advance the agenda of personalities. Maybe some are congressmen who want to be elected or be re-elected in 2013 and perhaps become president in 2016," he said.