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tape scandal, which includes a full transcript and a list of the cast
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The Unmaking of the President
by Sheila S. Coronel
Mrs. Arroyo is reaping the consequences of the damage she
has wrought on key institutions.
The Tangled Tale of the Tapes
There appears to be more comedy than cunning in the release
of the "Garci" tapes.
Bye, Bye Love
Gloria and Mike complement, but also compete with, each
Despite Susan, The Opposition is not Quite Smelling Like Roses
by Luz Rimban
Mrs. Poe is the best thing that has ever happened to a
splintered and discredited opposition.
Pondering Plans B to G
A whole range of options is being offered as a way out
of the current mess.
Who Really Won in 2004?
by Yvonne T. Chua
The experts say the fight was so close it was a statistical
WHAT WENT WRONG IN THE COMELEC?
The Comelec's Fall from Grace
by Alecks P. Pabico
The questionable credentials and integrity of commissioners
have wrecked the election body.
Sins of the Commission
Scandals have hounded the Comelec for years.
by Sheila S. Coronel
The man whose voice is heard on The Tapes is an expert
in election fraud.
Working 'Miracles' in Mindanao
by Yvonne T. Chua
The "Garci" recording gives clues on how the cheating was
done in the South.
The result of the elections in some Mindanao towns challenges
Messing with the Party List
by Luz Rimban
Favored party-list groups got more than a little help from
the Comelec fraud squad.
THE FIRST FAMILY
Shame and Scandal in the Family
The Arroyos have weathered allegations that range from
keeping secret bank accounts to getting money from illegal gambling.
by Alecks P. Pabico
Ringtones, bootlegged CDs, and blogs are the new weapons
POINTS OF VIEW
Writings on the (Democracy) Wall
Filipinos have never been shy about speaking out, especially
in turbulent times.
The Non(Musical): A Program Guide
There really is only one Garci recording, but several versions
of it have been released. A full transcript and a list of the cast of
characters in The Tapes is in this issue.
Gloriagate: The Jokes
Filipinos deal with crisis with an unflagging sense of
| THE FIRST FAMILY
The Arroyos have weathered allegations that range from keeping secret bank accounts to getting money from illegal gambling.
FROM overpriced highways to secret bank accounts, to gambling lords and thoroughbred horses, controversies have hounded the Arroyo administration long before wiretapped conversations implying election fraud hogged the headlines. And it is not only the president who has more than once been asked to account for charges of improper behavior; so too have husband Mike, eldest child Mikey, and brother-in-law Ignacio Arroyo.
CONTROVERSIAL FAMILY. The Arroyo couple hears mass with their children (from extreme left) Dato, Mikey, and Luli. [photos courtesy of Malaya]
Four days after it assumed office, the Arroyo administration approved the awarding of a controversial $470-million contract to the Argentine firm IMPSA (Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anonima) to rehabilitate a hydroelectric plant in Laguna. Justice Secretary Hernando Perez was later accused of demanding and receiving $2 million dollars from ex-Rep. Mark Jimenez, who brokered the deal. Jimenez said he wired the amount to the account of Ernest Escaler in Hong Kong on Feb. 23, 2001 from his bank in Uruguay. The former congressman was later extradited to the United States, where he had to serve a two-year jail term for federal election fraud and tax evasion.
From the time she was first elected senator in 1992 up to 2004, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had failed to declare in her sworn Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth the properties her husband, Jose Miguel ‘Mike’ Arroyo, bought in San Francisco through his California-based LTA Realty Corp. In 2003, Newsbreak reported that Mr. Arroyo acquired, resold, and managed at least five properties with a total value of at least $7.1 million in the Bay City from 1992 to 2000. The First Couple said they bought the properties in trust for Mike Arroyo’s younger brother, Ignacio or Iggy, now a congressman.
President Arroyo has been questioned about her personal connection with alleged jueteng boss Bong Pineda: She is godmother to one of Pineda’s sons. She has denied any impropriety, saying she doesn’t associate with Pineda or his crowd. In an interview with Time magazine in 2001, she said that when she was asked to be ninang, she sought and received counsel from Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin. Recalled Arroyo: “Cardinal Sin said, as a Christian, if I am asked to be a godmother, it is my Christian duty, because the sins of the father are not the sins of the son.”
In the middle of 2002, Sulpicio Tagud Jr., then board director of the Public Estates Authority (PEA), blew the whistle on what he said was the overpricing by over P600 million of the construction of the 5.1-kilometer President Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard at the Manila Bay reclamation area. First approved during the Estrada administration, contracts for constructing the highway were allocated to three companies: Shoemart Inc. (one portion), DM Wenceslao (one portion), and Jesusito D. Legaspi Construction (JDLC for the remaining three portions). A series of supplemental contracts with JDLC were later approved by the PEA board under the Arroyo administration, increasing the original approved cost of their section of the highway. Tagud did his investigations and found that while the SM group of companies constructed its part of the boulevard at a cost of P54,000 per lineal meter, JDLC built its section at P302,000 per lineal meter.
The construction of the 1.1-km-long, four-storey Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) has been riddled with controversies. Some of these were inherited by the Arroyo administration, while others were allegedly of its own doing. In May 2003 opposition Sen. Edgardo Angara accused Malacañang of trying to extort, through the Villaraza law office, some $20 million from Fraport, the German firm with a 30-percent stake in Piatco, in exchange for legal favor.
But the Piatco scandal is a long running one. It figured prominently during the confirmation hearings for Arroyo-appointed Transportation Secretary Pantaleon Alvarez in 2002. Alvarez was alleged to have obtained an overpriced subcontract for one of the public works projects related to the airport terminal. In exchange, Alvarez, while transportation secretary, was reported to have given the firm “onerous” advantages. Piatco was also accused of paying since June 2001 huge sums of money to a public relations consultant, Alfonso S. Liongson, an associate of the First Gentleman, for getting signatures of officials for either permits or supplementary agreements to its contract with the government. Liongson reportedly used part of the money to bribe officials for their signatures. The terminal was finally mothballed in 2003 when President Arroyo revoked Piatco’s build-operate-transfer contract. In December 2004 the government took over the airport, after the Supreme Court affirmed the contract’s revocation. It remains unopened.
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