MANILA: Although in detention, embattled former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is confident of being reelected as congresswoman in her home province of Pampanga in Central Luzon in the coming May 10 polls, according to her spokesman.
Elena Bautista-Horn disclosed Arroyo’s three children and her staff often represented her in her official engagements including campaign sorties in her bid for a second term as Pampanga congresswoman in the May election less than four months away.
“The people are happy,” Horn said, “whenever they see her children and are thankful for all the projects in her (congressional) district. But we have to work hard to make sure she gets reelected.”
Horn added that while in detention and allegedly being subjected to harassment, Arroyo has authored and co-authored more than 200 bills since 2010 when she was elected member of the House of Representatives.
Records at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that three candidates are opposing Arroyo’s reelection bid.
The embattled and ailing former president is under hospital arrest in a government medical facility in Metro Manila as ordered by a special court called the Sandiganbayan where she is facing the non-bailable complaint of plunder which also carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The case stemmed from Arroyo’s alleged involvement in the illegal disbursement of about $8 million in intelligence funds of the government-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office that operates the lucrative lotto patronised by millions of Filipinos.
In her complaint before the Sandiganbayan, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, a retired Supreme Court justice and the country’s chief graft-buster, alleged the funds were used among others for the May 2010 presidential elections won by then senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
Ironically, while she remained in detention, the Sandiganbayan again granted the petition of Arroyo’s husband lawyer Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo to travel to Japan and Hong Kong from Feb.3 to 10.
These were the same destinations listed by Jose Miguel when the Sandiganbayan allowed him to undertake a business trip in 2012.
The Arroyo couple has been indicted before the Sandiganbayan for graft for their alleged participation in the scandal-wracked award of a $330 million government contract to a Chinese firm ZTE Corporation to set up a national broadband network.