Make Aquino pay for his failure to hold Arroyo accountable for her crimes against the people

ANG BAYAN
7 March 2012

PDF available in Pilipino
The Filipino people have lost all trust in the Aquino regime for its failure to hold Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo accountable for grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, plunder and other major cromes against the people.

The latest disappointment came last week in the form of the prosecution's decision to terminate the presentation of evidence in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona that would have proven him to be Arroyo's man in the Supreme Court. This move by Aquino's men within the prosecution panel is believed to have been made to cover up Corona's connection to the Arroyos.

By preventing the establishment of such a connection, Aquino has further bared that he was merely riding on the people's sentiments to have Arroyo prosecuted and punished in order to obtain their support for his moves to oust Corona from the Supreme Court. It has become even more apparent that Aquino's real objective was to control and bring the Supreme Court to its knees to compel it to reverse its decision to distribute the Cojuangco-Aquino-owned Hacienda Luisita and ensure the high court's support for his regime's actions.

It has now become clear to the people that Aquino's determination to have Corona ousted has nothing at all to do with the goal of holding Arroyo accountable for her crimes.

Corona's trial has turned out to be one long farce. Not a day passed without Aquino lambasting Corona. At the same time, however, his government has accorded Arroyo one favor after another. State prosecutors have never posed any objections to the court's grant of Arroyo's every whim and caprice—from her appeal to continue her hospital detention despite doubts about the severity of her medical condition to her request to visit her brother-in-law's wake twice, a privilege not usually granted to detainees facing criminal charges.

It has also become quite obvious to the people that the Aquino regime has no plans of taking any decisive steps to hold Arroyo accountable for more than 1,100 cases of extrajudicial killings and thousands of other grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed under the nine-year Oplan Bantay Laya war of suppression. Not one of the Arroyo regime's officials responsible for the brutal suppression of the people has been punished. Among them is Gen. Jovito Palparan who has yet to be arrested despite the criminal cases already filed against him. Worse, Aquino has continued and stepped up the war of suppression against the people under the so-called Oplan Bayanihan.

Neither has Aquino shown any resolve to hold Arroyo responsible for the high crime of plunder for cases of bribe-taking in the ZTE and IMPSA deals, and the PCSO, OWWA and fertilizer fund scams, among others. After almost two years in power, his regime has charged Arroyo only with the relatively lesser crime of sabotaging the 2007 elections in a case that not a few lawyers say has been crafted in a way that would ensure its defeat in court.

At least seven plunder cases have been filed against Arroyo by various organizations and individuals. But even with Aquino's own choice of ombudsman in place, Arroyo has not been charged with plunder. She faces the lesser charge of graft even after having pocketed billions of pesos from the ZTE Broadband deal.

It has become plain to the people that Aquino's relentless tirades against Arroyo have all been a sham. This is not new to the country's history. Arroyo used the people's loathing for Estrada, the same way Corazon Aquino used Marcos, and Magsaysay, Quirino to blame their predecessor regimes for the people's poverty and suffering and cover up the rottenness and corruption under their own rule.

In the past 60 years of the puppet republic, however, not a single official responsible for large-scale plunder, suppressing freedom and trampling on human rights has been punished. Thus, under Aquino's government, plunderers as well as implementors of terror from martial law up to Arroyo's brutal rule stand side by side. Based solely on Aquino's own actions, it is highly unlikely that Gloria Arroyo will be the first to be punished despite her myriad crimes against the people.

The reactionary ruling classes claim that it is good to forgive and let go of the past. This is an excuse to justify the ruling system's failure to give the justice demanded by the Filipino people. Despite their rivalries for the perks afforded by state power, all reactionaries are united behind the goal of suppressing, exploiting and oppressing the workers, the peasantry and the common people. All of them, without exception, are puppets that bow before the banner of US imperialism while picking on the crumbs that fall from the banquet tables of those who plunder the country's wealth.

The Filipino people demand that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and all her criminal cohorts be proecuted and punished for their crimes of repression and plunder.

They must persevere in the effort to hold Arroyo accountable along with her key officials like General Palparan, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Norberto Gonzales, Raul Gonzalez and the other masterminds and implementors of Oplan Bantay Laya and its campaign of extrajudicial killings. The big plunderers who stole from the nation's coffers and caused the people suffering must be held to account. The people must denounce, resist and demand retribution from the Aquino regime for accommodating Arroyo and paving the way for her exoneration from her numerous crimes against the people.

The people may seek recourse from reactionary institutions and legal processes within the framework of the reactionary system to advance the goal of holding Arroyo and all her criminal cohorts accountable. They may initiate the filing of charges against military officers, AFP personnel and other masterminds and perpetrators of fascist crimes in the reactionary courts. They may also file plunder cases and demand the abrogation of policies that are a burden to the people.

They must take advantage of conflicts and rivalries among the ruling classes to advance their legal struggles. But they must disabuse themselves of the illusion that they can achieve significant gains in holding Arroyo responsible, especially in battles or processes that are under the control of the ruling Aquino clique.

It is therefore much more important to persevere and gain strength in the arenas of mass struggle and armed struggle where they can continue to build democratic people's power. Arroyo and all the other criminals who plundered and suppressed the people can only be decisively held accountable by putting an end to the current ruling system. Only the democratic system and government that the people are struggling to build can determinedly prosecute and punish the reactionaries.