Aquino says Arroyo isn't his only priority
NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar - President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III says his detained predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is not his only priority for prosecution.
This as he maintained that Arroyo is not off the hook yet despite the dismissal of a graft case against Arroyo in connection with the P728 million fertilizer fund scam allegedly used to fund her 2004 presidential campaign.
The Ombudsman dismissed that graft case last week, citing the lack of evidence.
Aquino said government, through Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, is also investigating other cases of corruption.
"She is not the only one that we are going after 'di ba? Tumutulong sila doon sa tax cases, ano, na ang dami na rin, several others. Meron akong pinapa-imbestigahan ngayon on mga --- an agency that really thinks they can really fool us all.”
Aquino added, "Sorry ha, hindi ko na muna wa-warningan iyong aming iniimbestigahan na kasalukuyan. Basta...Can I just say na sobrang kapal talaga nitong pangkat na ito. At ganun ka...Umabot sa akin kasi kung paano 'yung scheme at initial investigation, the affidavits are saying these things. Talaga feeling nila they will never get caught, they will never be caught.
"I will prove to them na that is not the case. Ngayon, si Leila is also involved with that, okay. Tapos mula iyong...Basta go as high as you can."
Shortly before the last Labor Day, Aquino revealed in a dialogue with labor groups that he had ordered the investigation of an agency he refused to name for corruption.
Aside from this, Aquino said the DOJ is also looking into other cases. "Pero iyon na nga, black sand mining, kasama rin si Leila. Actually mabibilang mo siguro kung ano ang hindi siya kasali. Baka dapat lagyan ko na siya ng isang mesa doon sa opisina ko dahil baka mas efficient iyon. Three days a week sa amin, two days sa DOJ siguro parang ganun."
Aquino maintained his government so far has 3 cases against Arroyo -- electoral sabotage for the 2007 elections, plunder for the alleged misuse of over P500 million in PCSO intelligence funds, and the alleged misuse of billions of government revenues from the Malampaya Natural gas fields.
Aquino belittled the dismissal, indicating Arroyo is not off the hook yet.
"We actually filed three cases against Mrs. Arroyo. This involves iyong Malampaya, iyong PCSO case, and then electoral fraud for 2004 and 2007, okay. Now, I asked in turn: 'does that end matter?' Since there was no case filed in court, hindi pa dinismiss ng Omnbudsman e. There was no arraignment, double jeopardy doesn't come in. If we are able to get the necessary evidence, to make a stronger case, then that can be refiled."
The Pasay Regional Trial Court has allowed Arroyo to post bail on the electoral sabotage case, noting weak evidence. The Sandiganbayan has warned the Ombudsman to present proof against Arroyo on the plunder case or it will grant Arroyo's bid for bail in that case. The Malampaya case is still pending investigation by the Justice department.
Aquino ran and won the 2010 presidential elections on the promise of holding Arroyo accountable for corruption during her 9-year presidency. The chief executive has constantly criticized Arroyo for corruption.