Scandals that hounded Arroyo admin
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Scandals hounded President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo almost immediately after she took power in 2001.
The following are some of the major controversies:
Hello Garci (2005): Wiretapped phone conversations purportedly between Ms Arroyo and Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano revealed, the opposition claimed, that she stole the 2004 presidential elections. She denies the charges.
NBN-ZTE project (2007): Losing bidder Joey de Venecia said a $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) contract with China’s ZTE Corp. was overpriced by $130 million to cover kickbacks and involved First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo. Ms Arroyo later scrapped the deal.
Jose Pidal (2003): A Senate panel looked into charges that First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo had amassed over P200 million from campaign contributions and put the money in secret bank accounts, some under the name of “Jose Pidal.” Mike Arroyo’s brother, Ignacio, claimed he owned the accounts, but invoked his right to privacy.
Fertilizer fund scam (2004): Following charges that Ms Arroyo engaged in “virtual vote-buying” by authorizing the release of P728 million to favored officials weeks before the 2004 presidential election, a Senate panel concluded that she should be held accountable. Plunder and other charges were recommended against Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante and nine others.
“Jueteng” (2005): Testimony at a Senate inquiry on the illegal numbers game jueteng revealed that operators had given protection money to Mike Arroyo, his congressman-son Juan Miguel and brother Rep. Iggy Arroyo.
Cash handouts (2007): Ms Arroyo had breakfast in Malacañang with over 100 congressmen and around 200 local officials who later were given paper bags containing between P200,000 and P500,000 in cash, described by critics as a bribe to quash an impeachment case against her.
World Bank loan (2007): The World Bank put on hold a $232-million loan for national road improvement projects after bid rigging was uncovered. Sen. Panfilo Lacson said witnesses in a World Bank report implicated Mike Arroyo in the irregularity.
NorthRail (2003): Former Sen. Franklin Drilon described the $503-million NorthRail project “the greatest train robbery in history.” Experts said the mass transit project from Caloocan City to Malolos was simply an upgrading of the old railway system.
SouthRail (2007): Critics said the $932-million SouthRail project funded by a Chinese loan to link Laguna to Bicol provinces was overpriced by 22 percent, or about $70 million. Inquirer Research