Arroyo most corrupt ex-president, should be jailed, Senate bets say

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2019 08:22 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2019 09:35 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal is the most corrupt chief executive to lead the country and should be jailed, two opposition Senate aspirants said Sunday.

Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said Arroyo should be jailed for destroying the country's institutions and for her administration's Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) with China in the West Philippine Sea in 2004.

"Sinira niya 'yung mga institution at sinacrifice niya ang ating soberenya sa pagpayag ng JMSU sa West PH Sea at marami pang corruption," Alejano said during the second installment of "Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate.”

When asked who was the most corrupt President, Bayan Muna chair and senatorial bet Neri Colmenares also picked Arroyo.

"Marami yun, si Gloria Arroyo, simulan ko na lang dun," he said.

Arroyo had faced plunder charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in July 2012 for alleged misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

A Pampanga congresswoman at the time, Arroyo was ordered arrested in October 2012 by the Sandiganbayan, which later granted her plea to remain under hospital arrest.

In July 2016, the Supreme Court voted 11-4 to junk the plunder case against Arroyo, setting her free.

Aside from plunder, Arroyo also faced an electoral sabotage complaint in connection with the 2007 senatorial elections, when she was president. She was cleared of the charge in December 2018.

Arroyo's 2004 "Hello, Garci" electoral fraud case had lapsed in 2009.

Colmenares and Alejano are among the opposition roster composed of reelectionist Sen. Bam Aquino, former Sen. Mar Roxas, former House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, lawyers Chel Diokno, Pilo Hilbay and Romulo Macalintal, and former Muslim assemblywoman Samira Gutoc. Macalintal, Arroyo's former election lawyer, said there was no proof that the former president cheated in the 2004 elections.

The second of the 3-part series was aired live at 7 p.m. on the ABS-CBN News Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo, iWant, news.abs-cbn.com and other ABS-CBN platforms online. On ABS-CBN Channel 2, viewers may catch the debates on "Sunday’s Best," after "Gandang Gabi Vice."