Gloria Arroyo and George Bush
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As a result of new, unsavory news reports about her and her husband, former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is again being beaten black and blue by the usual critics.

Some critics withheld unleashing their tirade against Gloria because she is sick as she has just gone through excruciating operation on the back of her neck. To them, it’s simply unkind to attack a person who is literally down.

The Gloria bashers, though, have no mercy for the former president.  Philippine Daily Inquirer Conrado de Quiroz is brutal in his comment about the sordid affairs involving Mrs. Arroyo. After citing Gloria’s alleged sins, De Quiroz said that the people should realize that although she is suffering these days, the Filipino people have long been suffering from the effects of the shenanigans that took place during her administration.

Other critics took a similar stanch: They should strike while the iron is hot, and they don’t care about Gloria’s pathetic condition. They are referring to new, hot disclosures of alleged election cheating in Mindanao in 2004.

Gloria is again at the receiving end of new allegations that the massive fraud resulted in the defeat of the late Fernando Poe Jr., also known as FPJ, and her “sham victory” in the 2004 presidential election.

Coming forward recently to spill the beans was former Sharia Court Judge Nagamura Moner who claimed that before the elections, he went around Mindanao to distribute bribe money to Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials who were directed to rig the polls.

According to a Manila Bulletin report, shortly after Moner placed his hand over the Qur’an, he admitted before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that he pocketed some one million pesos out of the eight-million-peso bribe fund.

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After five years of silence amid threats to him and his family, he stepped forward to disclose alleged lies and scheming that resulted in the victory of Arroyo, Moner said. The operation allegedly involved then First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, and former Ninoy Aquino International Airport General Manager Alfonso Cusi.

Moner testified that he delivered the bribe money to election officials in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Maguindanao. The money came mostly from Cusi through the presidential security net, he said.

Asked by media people what could have been the result of the 2004 presidential election if the balloting in the predominantly Muslim provinces was clean and honest, Moner said the clear winner would have been FPJ.

In 2005, he also testified before the Senate national defense committee. Testifying recently in the Senate, he admitted that he lied in the 2005 hearing because he was then ordered to say that the election in 2004 was clean and honest.

In his last testimony, Moner also said that former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano was involved in a parallel move by the Arroyo camp to cheat in the elections.

He likewise disclosed the presence of former Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno in one of the pro-Arroyo election sorties in Mindanao.

Furthermore, he linked former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, who was then DILG undersecretary for legal affairs, to the election fraud, saying she instructed election officers in the Muslim-dominated areas to claim during press conferences that there was no cheating in the 2004 elections and that Poe indeed lost to Mrs. Arroyo.

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Moner testified that in Lanao del Sur, only five people voted for candidates for president, saying three voted for Poe and the two others voted for either Panfilo Lacson, Arroyo, Villanueva or Roco. Yet the final tally showed that FPJ had zero vote in that province.

Moner was testifying at the Senate while Gloria was in bed recuperating from her operation. I wonder if Gloria had watched the live coverage of the Senate hearing or if she had read the next day the newspapers in which the Moner bombshell was reported.

I surmise, though, that her doctors have not allowed her to watch the TV newscast or read the newspapers. The news could set back her recovery or even worsen her condition.

What a miserable situation the once powerful Gloria has found herself these days!