PNoy Blasts GMA anew Before European Community
September 20, 2014
Brussels, Belgium – The blame game continues.
President Aquino has resumed his bashing of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, this time before the European community by criticizing the past administration for taking credit for the country’s progress.
At a forum organized by Brussels-based think tank Egmont Institute, the President recalled the sorry state of the country he inherited from Arroyo, before he led a national resurgence anchored on good governance.
“Before my term in office, the Philippines was mired in a vicious cycle of corruption, deceit, and negativism. Some people had grown so apathetic that it seemed that the only ambition for them was to leave the country to look for better opportunities,” the President said.
Despite such dire strait of the country, Aquino said the previous government even had the “temerity” to claim credit for continued growth, which was actually fueled by Filipinos who were working abroad. “Some called that period a ‘lost decade’ – a massive opportunity squandered by a government that, instead of laying foundations for growth, focused on political self-preservation. Its impunity only deepened the fissures in our society,” Aquino added.
When the 2010 elections came, Aquino said the Filipino people decided that “the systemic pillaging of state coffers must end; and government must go back to serving its true “bosses” – the Filipino people.”
With the pursuit of reforms, the President took pride of the country’s positive transformation, ticking off several achievements such as facilitating a robust economic growth and holding accountable public servants involved in corruption.
He said the country’s average growth rate during the past government was only 4.3 percent, compared to 6.3 percent average from 2010 to 2013. He also said 2.5 million Filipinos have been lifted out of the poverty line from 2012 to 2013.
Among the anti-corruption gains mentioned by the President were the arrest of Arroyo on corruption charges, impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, and removal of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
“My predecessor, as well, is under hospital arrest as she faces two serious unbailable charges, with another one still being reviewed by the Ombudsman,” Aquino said. “In short, we made it clear: Under our administration, one’s position, wealth, and influence do not enter into the equation; justice and the rule of law will be upheld,” he added.
Prior to the forum, the President also criticized his predecessor for dampening investor confidence during the Public Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure conference in Brussels.
Aquino explained that he first made a pitch for PPP in November, 2010, but the endeavor “was not easy.” “We understood the apprehension that businesses must have felt at the time, given my predecessor’s reputation, borne of constant allegations of wrongdoing,” he added.
The former president was still in the mind of the President when he faced the Filipino community in Brussels last Monday.
He recounted that Filipinos were used to scandals and scam during the past government.
“Maybe we have not forgotten: There was ‘Hello Garci,’ followed by the fertilizer fund scam, and millions of retirement bonus for generals, among others. That’s the Philippines I inherited,” he said.
“But because of the trust given by the people and our straight path principle, change became possible,” he added.
Former President Arroyo is currently detained at a government hospital pending a trial on corruption charges. Malacañang had earlier said President Aquino has no ill feeling towards his predecessor but still won’t visit her at the hospital.
Since he assumed office in 2010, President Aquino has often blamed Arroyo for the problems faced by his administration, from budget woes to corruption anomalies. Some groups have criticized the President for holding on to the past, saying he should just focus on doing his job now./MB