No political 'cease-fire' over Arroyo surgery: allies

Posted at 07/27/11 6:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - House allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo doubt there will be a “cease-fire” in political blows from the administration, even as the former president prepares to undergo surgery for a spinal injury.

“When hostility comes from only one side, how can you ask for a cease-fire?” House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said on Wednesday. “May cease-fire pag may exchange of fire.”

The legislator was referring to President Benigno Aquino III’s promise to punish former officials accused of corruption and wrongdoing during Arroyo’s 9-year presidency, including the Pampanga representative herself.

Lagman said Arroyo’s allies “could not stop” the government from filing cases against Arroyo, who had long been accused of corruption and cheating in the 2004 elections.

Heurged the state to thoroughly review evidence if it decides to pursue these cases.

“Hindi puwedeng pagbawalan ang hilig nila sa expose,” Lagman said. “Ang aming panawagan lang ay huwag na propaganda. Huwag na trial by publicity. [The government] should stick to the facts and evidence.”

Delicate time

Similarly, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, a member of the House minority, said he doubted that Arroyo would get respite from the political onslaught during and after her delicate spinal operation, expected within the week.

“A cease-fire from this administration? I doubt it,” Suarez said.

It was announced on Tuesday that Arroyo would have to undergo a procedure to decompress a pinched nerve in the neck by realigning her spinal columns. Arroyo had been wearing a neck brace in public before the operation.

“She was advised by her doctor, huwag pupunta sa mga bumpy na lugar,” Suarez said. “Pumunta kasi siya sa mga bara-barangay. Spinal yun eh. You don’t mess with your spine.”

 Aquino has recently appointed former Supreme Court Chief Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales as Ombudsman, in a move expected to step up pressure against those accused of corruption, including Arroyo.

Lagman said the House minority “deferred to the president’s decision” to appoint Carpio-Morales. “That’s the president’s call. We will not interfere,” he said.

Rep. Milagros Magsaysay, another House minority lawmaker, said it was too early to criticize the appointment since the new Ombudsman had yet to enact plans or policies. “It will be unfair to comment now based on perception,” she said.