Thursday, July 21, 2016

Supporters from Legazpi hail SC decision as Arroyo's 'vindication'
By Samuel M. Toledo

LEGAZPI CITY, July 20 (PNA) -- Although she has been placed under hospital arrest for nearly four years, many supporters in Bicol of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo believe her acquittal is not just another case of “justice delayed is justice denied.”

Macapagal-Arroyo’s supporters believe the favorable decision is but a vindication for all the insults that demeaned her status as head of state after she stepped down as president of the country.

"We feel mad and very sad when former President Arroyo was arrested and later on placed under hospital arrest,” said Rosita Vibal, a vendor of native food and mother of 13 here, said in the dialect.

“We are very poor. It was only during her term that the price per kilo of NFA (National Food Authority) rice was lowest at P18. For this alone, we cannot forget her,” she said.

The former president, whose son Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo was educated at Ateneo de Naga University, was known for her closeness to the Bicolanos. During her term, she made frequent visits to the Bicol provinces more than the other provinces outside Metro Manila.

Dato who regards himself a Bicolano, was the representative of the second congressional district of Camarines Sur from 2007 to 2016.

Several recipients of the government’s poverty alleviation program Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) that was started during the term of Mrs. Arroyo expressed jubilation over her acquittal.

“We welcome her acquittal. We know she was the one who started the 4Ps that is until now helping us a lot,” Gerald Roxas, 32 and a laborer, whose family is a 4Ps recipient, said in the dialect.

According to a state university professor here, the former president’s acquittal is not merely another case of “justice delayed is justice denied,” but more so a vindication for all that had happened to her after she stepped down from power.

“Can we still remember when she was permitted by the Supreme Court to leave for medical treatment abroad but was stopped while about to board her plane on orders of then Justice Secretary, now Senator Leila De Lima?” said Prof. Anacito Dematera.

He believes that Mrs. Arroyo is less mindful of her nearly four-year hospital arrest but more elated by her acquittal in the plunder case.

“But of course, GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) has yet to face her remaining cases,” Dematera said. (PNA) LAP/GVR/SMT/CBD