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Arroyo not blameless over military graft

Bishop slams ex-president, Caritas Manila offers whistleblowers protection

Arroyo not blameless over military graft
Sister Mary John Mananzan with whistleblower Rodolfo Lozada
Former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should not think she is blameless over alleged corruption in the military during her watch, a bishop said today.

Arroyo at the very least should have been aware of the military officials’ pocketing of millions of pesos, having been the commander-in-chief of all armed forces at the time, Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani said.

“She must have known about it. If not, she was negligent. I’m not saying she took money herself but, as Senator Ernesto Maceda told me, she tolerated it because she was afraid to lose the support of the security forces,” Bishop Bacani said in an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas.

“That’s the sad part. If a president is corrupt the people under him or her become corrupt as well,” he added.

Bishop Bacani said the former armed forces chief of staff Angelo Reyes should be charged if there was evidence he accepted 50 million pesos as retirement money.

“Angelo Reyes was a major player in the ouster of [former president Joseph] Estrada in 2001. What a great act of hypocrisy,” he said.

Bishop Bacani was speaking after 20 bishops pledged their support for whistleblowers exposing graft in the military.

Caritas Manila and the Association of Major Religious in the Philippines (AMRSP) said they are willing to provide security to former government auditor Heidi Mendoza who revealed alleged military corruption, specifically during Arroyo’s term.

“We are ready to provide sanctuary to whistleblowers who we consider as friends,” said Father Anton Pascual, Caritas Manila executive director.

“It’s time the Church has its own witness protection program because it’s the only institution the people trusts.”
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