POINTILLISMS - Mike Acebedo Lopez (The Freeman) - November 8, 2014 - 12:00am

Calling the Aquino Administration cruel is perhaps the understatement of the decade.

Gloria Arroyo, former head of state, had to request to attend her one-year-old grandson's wake; the request was initially denied; she, through her lawyers, appealed it; she was granted a mere two hours -two freakin' hours, imagine that; they appealed some more for house arrest throughout the 9-day prayers so she could at least be with her grieving daughter Luli and their family at this most difficult, impossibly painful of times. Still, it was denied. Instead she was finally allowed to travel to her father's house in Forbes Park, Makati every day for nine days following a strict schedule and other stipulations (i.e. no interviews), and to return to Veterans each night.

A grandson died and his grandmother had to practically beg to attend his wake and grieve with the family. And this grandmother was former President of the Republic, herself the daughter of an esteemed Head of State who championed land reform and the cause of the poor. At least extend some basic courtesy to her befitting of her stature; after all, she once occupied the highest office of the land. Anyone who strongly believes she is undeserving of the right to freely grieve her grandson's passing - for crimes she is alleged to have committed while in office, whether real or imagined - I dare say, deserves a fate worse than hers.

It's one of those horrible, horrible things you wouldn't even wish on your enemy. Yet the Aquino administration, through the prosecution making it extremely difficult for Arroyo at the Sandiganbayan, would wantonly bequeath unto her the very worst that can be made of the situation. 

She has already been deprived of time with her grandson Jugo, born with cardiomyopathy, throughout his short life of thirteen months, and they have to force her to kneel before these Admin overlords for a simple furlough usually instantly extended for humanitarian reasons.

The injustice is especially glaring because the PCSO plunder case against Arroyo, the one keeping her in detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center , is extremely weak. "Wala naman talagang kaso," as some friends of mine at the Department of Justice would assert. It is purely political persecution and vendetta by Aquino because GMA was president when the Supreme Court made a monumental decision to finally, at very long last, dismantle the Hacienda Luisita, a vast sugar plantation of more than 5,000 hectares the family of Noynoy has illegally clung to for decades.

How many of Gloria Arroyo's basic rights have they trampled on, the president who gave birth to our country's economic renaissance, the effects of which we benefit from to this very day? The right to liberty (she has been denied bail even when prosecution's witnesses testify that there is no direct link to Arroyo in the PCSO plunder case; and that her co-accused have all been granted bail; the connection is weakest in her case, yet she is the only one who is not free. WOW), the right to seek the best medical attention wherever, and now, as a consequence of being denied bail, the opportunity to freely grieve her grandson's death.

(The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Health Organization jointly affirms the basic human right to health, to include these entitlements: The right to a system of health protection providing equality of opportunity for everyone to enjoy the highest attainable level of health; The right to prevention, treatment and control of diseases; Access to essential medicines; to name a few.)

One could recall how President Noynoy Aquino's father Ninoy was extended a radical commutation of his sentence during Martial Law. Ninoy was convicted (albeit by a so-called kangaroo court) of the crime of sedition, the crime attached with the penalty of death. But President Marcos, Aquino arch nemesis, commuted the punishment from death to life imprisonment, and further, after it was found that Ninoy had a heart condition that required heart bypass surgery, commuted it from life imprisonment to exile in Boston, Massachusetts.

Gloria Arroyo also allowed former president Joseph Estrada to go abroad for knee surgery when she was president and Erap was detained and being tried for plunder. Erap was eventually convicted and pardoned by GMA.

The difference is Ninoy and Erap were convicted, and yet they were allowed to seek treatment abroad for humanitarian reasons, but Gloria Arroyo is merely an accused in an extremely weak case at that.

In this most cruel episode, one thing is evident. That despite the heartlessness of this government, despite the fact that the former president had to beg to grieve her grandson's passing with her family, she and her family have remained dignified and above the deplorable persecution they are being subjected to.

The Sandiganbayan restricts GMA with a "No interview" policy? As if she needed that. She would not have granted interviews even if they allowed her. How the Macapagal-Arroyo-Bernas families have kept the wake private, with what appears like a self-imposed media blackout, is characteristic of them.

Now imagine if the Aquino family was in the same situation and someone dies. Oh my golly, I bet you my bottom dollar they would exploit the death to the hilt, grant interviews, conduct presscons, breakdown on national television, make a spectacle of themselves… and elect yet another family member as president, all at the expense of someone who just died. Classy, just classy. And yes, cruel.


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