Oct 082013
A “word war” is brewing between former Senator Joker Arroyo and President Benigno Aquino III’s spokespersons after the former accused the latter of causing problems in Malacañang due to “indolence.”

In a statement Tuesday, Arroyo countered presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda’s statement that he did not react to irregularities during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Part of the problem in Malacañang is the indolence of spokespersons. They play things by the ear and pass it off as facts,” he said.

Arroyo pointed out how he co-chaired a Senate probe on the alleged fertilizer fund scam during the Arroyo presidency. He said he also criticized the supposedly anomalous NBN-ZTE deal.

The ex-lawmaker also told Aquino’s spokespersons to check records first before making statements.

“Staff indolence, that’s why the President gets into trouble for missteps that are not his,” Arroyo said.

“Graftbuster kuno”

In response, Lacierda said indolent is “a good adjective to describe” Arroyo’s stint as a “graftbuster kuno.”

“What is an undeniable fact is that for all his years as a senator during GMA’s term, where was he in the fight against corruption? The dragon was asleep all those years,” he said in a text message to GMA News Online.

“Noong panahon ni GMA, kung bad ka, ok lang.  That’s what he should be explaining instead of attacking Sec. Butch Abad or the spokespersons,” he added.

On Monday, Lacierda said that he finds it “weird” that Arroyo is “talking only now” about supposed irregularities in government, particularly against the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Arroyo was among the lawmakers identified by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad who supposedly endorsed projects funded under the DAP.  Arroyo said he was unaware of this allocation, even calling the creation of the DAP a “crime.”

The DAP started to draw public attention after Senator Jinggoy Estrada revealed in a privilege speech two weeks ago that P50 million in additional funds were given to each senator who voted to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona in May last year.

Abad later said that these funds were sourced from the DAP, but were never intended as bribes or incentives. Andreo Calonzo and Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK, GMA News

 Leave a Reply