Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s arrest yesterday was indeed “historical.” It took President Aquino more than 500 days to decisively run after Arroyo despite the fact that he used anti-Arroyo line during the last elections. Yesterday the Regional Trial Court issued Arroyo a Warrant of Arrest.
However, justice is not yet served until Arroyo is punished for the long list of crimes her government is responsible for. Besides electoral fraud, cases involve scores of corruption and plunder of the country’s wealth, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, and human and trade unions rights. Arroyo also connived with the Cojuangco-Aquino family during the massacre in Hacienda Luisita.
The workers and the people should unite for justice and demand Arroyo’s punishment. Since Aquino’s term began, we have witnessed the President’s lack of political will in serving justice. We can only rely on collective action, continued vigilance, and assertion.
During the government frenzy in preventing Arroyo to travel out of the country, the Aquino government was also busy welcoming Secretary Hillary Clinton and supporting US neoliberal programs that will give additional burden to the Filipino people who are already facing hunger and poverty. The Aquino government’s direction is no different from that of Arroyo’s. These are some of the pro-US and anti-people programs that Aquino supports:
- Allowing US companies to conduct exploration in a natural gas field in the northern part of the country. Aquino announced this during the Asia Pacific Economic (APEC) Cooperation Summit.
- Signing a declaration (Manila Declaration) that promotes increased control and US militarypresence in the South China Sea. This was signed during Hillary Clinton’s visit.
- Imposing new taxes on pension and health contributions.
- Allowing oil price hike to be implemented by giant oil companies. The latest happened this week. Meralco power rates are also expected to increase within November.
- Showing inaction amidst worsening poverty. A higher percentage of self-rated poverty was revealed by the Social Weather Stations’ survey stating that around 10.4 million families consider themselves poor.
It is up to the workers and the people to ensure that Arroyo will be held accountable for her crimes against the people. We will also fight Aquino’s Arroyo-like anti-worker and anti-people policies. We continue to call for significant wage hike and demand the end to contractualization, hunger and poverty. We will continue to fight for justice. Lito Ustarez, KMU Vice Chairperson