Statement of Congressman Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, 2nd district, Province of Bukidnon, on the day of the plenary voting of the House of Representatives on the fourth Impeachment Complaint against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Tuesday, December 2, 2008.
Today, for the fourth time, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her allies refuse to answer the basic charges of lying, stealing, cheating and the slaughter of her own countrymen. In her maneuvering to escape accountability, in blocking the light of truth, in her refusal to bring about closure to the basic issue of legitimacy, the damage to the institutions of Philippine society has been almost irreparable. The Office of the President, Congress, the Armed Forces, the Ombudsman, the COMELEC, the Department of Justice, and the Civil Service are among the casualties brought about by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s shameless sense of impunity. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, you have destroyed the credibility, integrity, and most deplorably, you have destroyed the faith of the Filipino people in these public institutions.
You have destroyed the people’s faith in the Armed Forces. You have manipulated the military for your cheating in the 2004 election. This was shown by the testimony of General Gudani when he was relieved of his command during the counting of the votes in Lanao del Sur to give them a free hand in manipulating the election results. AFP was then on full red alert but he was ordered to return to Manila and play golf for one week.
You have destroyed the people’s faith in the Ombudsman as an anti-corruption institution, by appointing Merceditas Gutierrez, a classmate and friend of Mike Arroyo, whose sole purpose is to protect you and your criminal allies from going to jail. This can be seen by the dismissal of the case against COMELEC Chairman Abalos for the purchase of the Megapacific computerized counting machines, even after the Supreme Court has declared the transaction illegal and even when the Ombudsman’s field investigator, Maria Elena Roxas, recommended prosecution. The Ombudsman sat on the case for two and a half years, and then dismissed it. Another example is the bribery case of Nani Perez, which has been dismissed due to the Ombudsman’s inaction. A case which was delayed for seven years. Even now, whilst Jocjoc Bolante testifies in the Senate, you have not even filed charges against him. This should have been done two years ago when the Senate Committee on Agriculture came out with its report.
You have destroyed the integrity of the Department of Justice, whose main pre-occupation is persecuting and prosecuting those who speak their mind against your administration.
You have destroyed the independence of the House of Representatives and have manipulated congressmen through the use of cash gifts, through the withholding of their CDF’s until they come to you in Malacañang to beg and kneel before you. Congress has become nothing more than an annex of Malacanang.
You have destroyed the faith of the people in the COMELEC and the election process by appointing operators like Virgilio Garcillano of the “Hello Garci Tapes”.
You have destroyed the Civil Service Commission. The former Chairman, Ms. Karina David, has already stated that nearly 60% of the 4,000 government positions, from directors to undersecretaries, are not qualified. You have appointed them on the sole basis of their blind loyalty to you.
You have neglected our agriculture, and as a consequence, we are a people unable to feed ourselves. Instead, we are becoming the world’s largest rice importer. To make matters worse, you have appointed your friends who steal whatever limited agricultural funding for your re-election, just like what Jocjoc Bolante did.
Our people have become poorer under your administration. From the years of 2003 to 2006, when you were bragging about your GDP statistics, the National Statistics Office, a government agency, reported that the poor have increased from 4 million to 4.7 million families.
You have destroyed the faith of the Filipino in the Office of the President. Your leadership and mis-governance has made the Philippines the most corrupt country in East Asia. You refuse to confront the basic issue of legitimacy. Therefore, you have no right to the Office of the President. You are a usurper that should leave immediately!!!
Now, as in 2006, you and your allies are poised to desecrate the Constitution of our Republic, by amending the Charter, thereby making you a President for life.
All these, just to escape accountability and perpetuate yourself in power.
Today, the hollow victory might be Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s but we all know that the damage is on the faith of the Filipino people in the political and governmental institutions.
So what!? Gloria Macapagal Arroyo does not care --- as long as she remains in power, by whatever means --- even through the barrel of the gun.
What has been shattered is hope ---- hope of the Filipino to live a meaningful and peaceful life in this country. Hope for the youth of this land who are constantly searching for a brighter tomorrow.
Natatandaan ko noong 2006, iyong sinabi ng isang grupo ng overseas Filipino workers sa Lebanon habang hinihikayat sila ng ating pamahalaan na bumalik sa Pilipinas dahil binobomba at ginigiyera ng Israel ang Lebanon. Ang sagot nila: ”Thank you, but no thank you. Hindi kami babalik. Dito na lang kami sa Lebanon kahit may giyera dito. Sapagka’t walang mangyayari sa amin diyan sa Pilipinas. Wala kaming nakikitang magandang kinabukasan sa Pilipinas. ------- This is the kind of cynicism, pessimism, and hopelessness that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s blatant and shameless manipulations have produced.
These past few days I have been asked: “IS THERE STILL HOPE IN THIS COUNTRY?” My answer is: Yes, there is still hope in this country!!! Our voting for the Impeachment of GMA is a signal of defiance. We will continue to fight. We will never give up the struggle to make public officers accountable to the people. We will continue until we have achieved a democratic political rebirth of our nation. In this sense, the impeachment is not the end but only the beginning.
My vote tells the whole nation that there are those who will not, no matter what the odds are -- will not stop until accountability of public officers is achieved, until faith in all political institutions is restored, and genuine democracy is realized.