This is looking to be another of those astounding gaffes that the government of Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has become world-renowned for since taking power in July, 2010. In recent months, the lastest “issue” making the rounds of the chattering classes is the travel ban slapped by MalacaÃ±ang on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after she requested that she be allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima claimed that she had information that Arroyo was in the process of seeking political asylum in the Dominican Republic. This is a claim that was denied by that country’s foreign minister in an official statement to the press issued yesterday…
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MANILA, Philippines â€” The Dominican Republicâ€™s foreign minister has denied reports from Philippine officials that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has requested asylum in the Caribbean nation.
Carlos Morales Troncoso told The Associated Press in the Dominican Republic on Friday that they have not received an application for asylum from Arroyo.
Turns out, de Lima’s “information” came from a rather shady source — a mobile phone text message from an unknown sender…
JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday admitted that the government has no clear proof that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would seek political asylum in Dominican Republic.
In a chance interview, De Lima said she received the information regarding Mrs. Arroyoâ€™s asylum only thru a forwarded SMS message, and she doesnâ€™t even know the identity of the sender.
â€œKung may nakuha akong information about Dominican Republic? Sabi ko oo, nakatanggap ako ng text so Iâ€™m verifying it. I donâ€™t even know whoâ€™s the source of text kasi finorward lang sa akin,â€ De Lima said.
[Translation: Did I receive information about the Dominican Republic? I said, yes, I did receive a text message and I’m verifying it. I don’t really know the source of the text because it was just forwarded to me]
De Lima disclosed that once she gets any information during the verification, she would immediately disclose it in public.
Considering that the travel ban being imposed by Aquino on Arroyo is fundamentally unconstitutional and, for that matter, not legally enforceable because no charges have yet been made against the former President, this revelation further highlights the incompetence of the Second Aquino Administration. This incompetence is not surprising when one takes stock of the long history of warning signs emerging both in the months of the presidential campaign and over the months that Aquino and his Cabinet held office in the presidential palace.
Earlier, a video that brought to light information surrounding the way the Aquino and Cojuangco clans came to acquire their wealth was dismissed by key Aquino lieutenants as “black propaganda” instigated by unspecified “forces”. The sheer hypocrisy of such high-nosed position taken by both Aquino and his aides stands out even more now when one considers how de Lima was so quick to believe — and publicise — what turns out to be such unreliable information while her peers, on another matter, would be so quick to dismiss others. What makes de Lima’s behaviour even more appalling is how it prompted a top official from a foreign government to make a statement to clarify things for her.
In summary, Aquino’s presidency which, even way back in the campaign leading up to it, fancied itself a guardian of the “true and straight path” practices anything but. The astounding thing about it is that it does not take meticulous investigation to uncover the Truth about the Second Aquino Administration. One just needs to wait for the next gaffe to get the latest revealing insight on the true nature of this supposedly “popular” and “prayerful” government.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.