Tuesday, 31 July 2012 12:33
Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's reported plan to seek reelection in the 2013 midterm elections has drawn varied reactions.
Mrs. Arroyo's relection plan was revealed by her chief of staff and spokesperson, Ma. Elena Bautista Horn, last Friday when the former leader visited her constituents in Porac, Pampanga, for the first time in eight months after she was placed under hospital arrest on charges of election sabotage and fraud. The neck brace-wearing Arroyo, weakened by a rare disease, posted a P1-million bail last Wednesday to gain temporary liberty.
Reacting to this, Malacañang said yesterday that former President may run for elections next year if she so wishes.
"Well, everybody is free to run in this country and that does not exclude the former President," Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
Valte said it will be up to the Liberal Party (LP) to decide if it will challenge the former President in her own district during next year's elections.
"As of the moment, the Liberal Party is in the process of coming out with their slate. Whether she will be challenged in her own district again remains to be seen," Valte said.
"That is her option and the position of Comelec, if any," said retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said when as to react on Arroyo's plan.
Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros echoed what Cruz said.
"In the last analysis, it is her own decision to make," he said.
But while it is the right of Mrs. Arroyo to run or not, Oliveros still urged the former leader to consider the good of her constituents.
"She should also look at the constituents, considering her state of health and the many court cases she has to face," he said.
"I pray for her to make the right decision," added Oliveros.
But the Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), who counts on several overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as its members, and another bishop assailed Arroyo reelection plan.
The militant OFW group slammed the reported reelection bid of Arroyo, branding her as "power-hungry."
"One would really wonder, if not doubt, that despite illness and several criminal cases filed against her, CGMA (Arroyo) has the nerve to run for reelection as representative of Pampanga's 2nd district," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator.
"This manifests (the) 'power-crazy' or 'power-hungry' mentality of her," Monterona said of Mrs. Arroyo.
"She is the same person who promised not to seek for reelection but she ran anyway for a second presidential term... right after completing the term she inherited from former President Joseph Estrada," Monterona reasoned out further.
However, the M-ME official admitted that the Constitution does not bar Arroyo from seeking a second term in the Lower House.
"Everyone knows that she ran and will run again not for genuine public service but primarily for political survival," he said, adding that Arroyo will use her position as "shield" against the cases filed against her.
Three other Arroyos are current members of the House of Representatives. They are Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo (1st District Camarines Sur), Ma. Lourdes Arroyo (Ang Kasangga Party-list), and Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo (Ang Galing Party-list).
Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo, the ex-president's brother in-law, died earlier this year. He served as representative of the 5th District of Negros Occidental.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, member of the Catholic Bishops, Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Permanent Council, said Mrs. Arroyo should no longer run for re-election in the 2013 polls.
"She should not run," Bastes said.
The prelate cited Mrs. Arroyo's present health condition as well as her many pending cases as reasons he is not in favor of the latter seeking another term in Congress.
His fellow prelates, however, would rather leave the decision to the former President.
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