24 May Duterte Willing to Grant Arroyo a Pardon
On Monday, May 23, president-elect Rodrigo Duterte said in a press conference in Davao, “I’m ready to grant pardon to Arroyo. Si Arroyo to my mind should also be released kasi ‘yung lahat ng na-demanda in connection with the sweepstakes expenditure ng intelligence fund nasa labas na. Si Arroyo lang ang nandiyan.”
During Duterte’s campaign he called the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Arroyo and said that he is willing and ready to grant her a pardon. He said, “I offered, ‘When I become president, I will pardon you. I talked to her, sabi ko, ‘Ma’am, gusto mo i-pardon kita?’ (I said, ‘Ma’am, if you want, I will pardon you’) Not because we’re friends, but because I do not think that there is a good case against you as a prosecutor and as a lawyer.”
Yet, Arroyo refused the proposal and said that if she would accept it then she should admit the crime of plunder. Duterte then advised her to ask for a bail instead.
“So I just said, ‘Then just apply for bail, since everyone else is out on bail anyway. I will just give my two cents on it, not to favor but that she deserves to be released,” Duterte said.
She is suffering from “multiple cervical spondylosis” and her camp requested for house arrest. They also requested that Arroyo must be admitted to a hospital abroad. Both pleas were denied.
Even the United Nations said on October 2015 that her detention has violated the international law.
She is now detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. Her plunder case is from her involvement in the misuse of P366-million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds from 2008 to 2010.
Duterte said that a detailed accounting for Arroyo’s case is not possible. He said, “How can you account properly for intelligence fund? ‘Yang mga tao diyan binibigay mo ng pera ‘yan at ‘yung hindi ko masyado kaibigan pero ‘yung alam kong makatulong, especially galing bukid, mayroon kaming tinatawag na assets binibigyan ko ‘yan. Paano ilagay doon na ayaw magbayad ng pangalan, hindi magpirma ‘yan?”
He also added, “Kung itemized okay pero kung intelligence fund, my god maski kanino.”
Duterte, in his hate of slow justice, said regarding the slow development of Arroyo’s case, “She’s been detained for so long, the trial delayed. Under the constitution, that is grounds for dismissal…. She’s been there about 4 years without a trial. If there is a trial everyday then nothing to complain about”
Aside from Arroyo, Duterte also promised Senator Ramon Revilla Jr a pardon regarding Revilla’s involvement in the pork barrel scam.
Before the elections, Arroyo’s camp said that they are supporting Vice President Jejomar Binay. Yet on her birthday last April, Salvador Panelo, Duterte’s lawyer, attended Arroyo’s birthday and even posted photos of him in the event.