“Cash Gifts” by Ricky Gelido

Ricky Gelido

Pampanga Gov. Panlilio, Bulacan Gov. Mendoza and Rep. Abante are just some of the officials who admitted having received money in Malacañang. The giving of money happened when the impeachment case against Pres. Arroyo was still a threat.

The “cash gifts” issue has never left the Arroyo administration. It has always remained as a stain in the escutcheon of the President.

Several events – advertently or inadvertently perpetrated to divert issues – have dwarfed the cash dole out. Just when the “cash gifts” issue was getting hotter, the Glorietta blast shocked many Filipinos. Just when the issue was a cauldron steaming hot, the Estrada pardon was served.

The two gargantuan events eclipsed the alleged bribery issue. But it was only for a short period.

After the Glorietta blast and the Estrada pardon though, Rep. Abante resurrected the issue by telling the public that it was Rep. Villarosa who handed him the P500,000.00.

Parties and personalities have come out in the open to tell the public of source of the money.

In an Inquirer report, “Puno insisted that the funds came from the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines after pointing to Speaker Jose De Venecia as the source of the money. But the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines denied Puno’s claims.” Then Rep. Villarosa said that the funds came from Kampi, the party of Pres. Gloria Arroyo. Sen. Lacson, on the other hand, told that the cash gifts may have come from the Philippine National Police.

But who would believe the intricate web of lies? Don’t the admissions and denials imply the hiding of something? Don’t they vibrate in one song saying that Arroyo knew nothing about the bribery? Weren’t several explanations given to possibly exonerate Arroyo?

While there is a senate inquiry now, the Philippine Trial Lawyers Association (PTLA) accused Governors Ed Panlilio of Pampanga, who first exposed the cash handouts, Leo Campos of Misamis Occidental, Joselito Mendoza of Bulacan, and Emilio Macias of Negros Oriental; and Representatives Antonio Cuenco, Rachel Arenas, Bienvenido Abante, Mauricio Domogan and Tomas Dumpit Jr. for bribery. When will the source(s) of the money be sued with a bribery case?

With the Batasan blast, it is said that the cash gift issue has taken the backseat. But no matter what happens, this “bribery” issue will always hunt the president and her administration. No matter how many denials and admissions will appear, the fact still remains that cash gifts were given in Malacañang. And the President has no knowledge and has nothing to do about the giving?

This will be added to the very “short” list of alleged anomalies in the Arroyo administration.


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