MANILA, September 5, 2003 (MALAYA) SOME leaders of the so-called "civil society" that installed Gloria Arroyo in Malacaņang don't want to hear about Jose Pidal. They do not want to know the truth about Jose Pidal. They want to end the Senate hearings on the alleged money laundering activities of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo stopped.

That simply shows that truth can be painful.

The other day I saw Bill Luz of the Makati Business Club and Donald Dee of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines on TV expressing concern about the effect on the economy of the Jose Pidal issue.

Dee was worried about the impression the controversy is giving to foreign investors. Which is valid, but his solution is to stop the investigation.

What caused the controversy in the first place, Mike Arroyo's money laundering activities or Lacson's expose? If Mike Arroyo didn't have a Jose Pidal account, Lacson would not have anything to expose.

What kind of business environment do foreign investors want? We are made to believe that the less corruption there is, the healthier it will be for business. That's why the government is supposed to have a drive against corruption. Money laundering is a vehicle of corruption. That's why the government passed an anti-money laundering law.

Luz who was in the forefront of the EDSA Dos protests, asked how Sen. Panfilo Lacson was able get information about the Jose Pidal checks despite the banking secrecy law. He was worried about its effect on the banking system.

How short the memory of some people can be if the truth does not serve their interest. Has Luz forgotten how the Jose Velarde checks were obtained? Those were not products of legal processes but resourcefulness in the interest of truth.

That was fine with him then because they did not like the duly elected president. Now that the shoe is in the other foot, they are using the very arguments that Estrada's people then were articulating.

What is difficult to accept about the argument of Mike Arroyo/Jose Pidal defenders is that, it was the people's outrage over the brazen corruption in the Estrada administration that installed Arroyo extra-constitutionally to the presidency.

Little did we know that a few days after Arroyo took her oath, her justice secretary, Hernani Perez, was engaging in the same deplorable practice. Two million dollars in several banks abroad including $1 million in a bank in Switzerland has been traced to Perez in what was rumored as an IMPSA payoff. Eight million dollars, we were told, went to somebody in Malacaņang.We won't be surprised if some of those ended up in one of Jose Pidal's accounts.


Mailbox: A. Amorio says: "I believe we should give Ignacio Arroyo the opportunity to prove that he is the real Jose Pidal. He should present the original copies of his income tax return, receipts from the time he opened his Jose Pidal account up to the latest.

"Once the whole Filipino people are convinced that the corresponding BIR-ITR payments made are in proportion to the income he earned from his Jose Pidal account, then this issue would be put to rest and we can move on to survive.

"Only the truth and nothing but the truth can help Mr. Ignacio Arroyo set free his one and only brother Mike from this mess."

From Archie Yap: "Where is St. Cory who led the protest against Erap's philandering and corruption? Where is Fidel Ramos? Still thinking when to enter the picture. The silence of Jaime Cardinal Sin on the Jose Pidal issue is deafening after he received a diamond ring from Gloria Arroyo.

"Thanks that we have Malaya and Abante."

From Mariano Yuzon: "There's one thing obvious about all, if not most witnesses being presented against FG Mike Arroyo after GMA entered Malacanang. These witnesses are either related to GMA or Mike Arroyo.

"One of the first scandals that didn't prosper involved Bing Rodrigo who exposed the Telecom scandal. She was the best friend and former Assumption classmate of GMA.

"Today, the witness Mahusay is the godson of Mike Arroyo. The question that should be asked is why are all these witnesses closely related to the First Couple standing as witnesses against the latter particularly Mike Arroyo? It's unlikely that they were planted by Lacson or the opposition because of their affiliation with these in power.

"Therefore, such claim by the Malacaņang defenders could not and should not be taken seriously. On the other hand, it would not surprise us at all if these same witnesses retract their statements and turned around. Either because of "utang-na-loob" or fear. Whatever charges and accusations against Mike Arroyo are now too many and too serious to be ignored.

"To Cardinal Sin who just celebrated his 75 years of meddling, say something.

"Are you quiet because of the recent one million pesos donation by Mike Arroyo?"

Email address: ellen@i-manila.com.ph

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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