Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte revealed he had offered to grant former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo pardon once he takes office, but the incumbent Second District Pampanga Representative has declined.
“Ayaw niya. I offered her. I said, ‘When I become President, I will pardon you.’ I talked to her. Sabi ko, ‘Ma’am, gusto mo i-pardon kita?’Not because we’re friends but because I do not think there is a good case against you as a prosecutor and as a lawyer,” he said in an interview with reporters in Davao City on Monday evening.
“'Ayaw ko kasi to be eligible for pardon you have to admit the sin,'” Duterte quoted Arroyo's response to his offer.
Duterte said the case filed against Arroyo over the alleged misuse of the P366 million intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) does not have a solid foundation.
“Look, alam mo kasi, ganito iyan eh, I am ready to grant pardon kay Arroyo. Let me explain. Si Arroyo, to my mind, should also be released kasi iyong lahat ng demanda in connection with the Sweepstakes expenditure ng intelligence funds, nasa labas na. Si Arroyo lang ang hanggang ngayon ang nandiyan,” he said.
Duterte added that intelligence funds are really difficult to itemize, noting his own experience with them.
“And I said, ako as Mayor of many years, I used to handle also intelligence fund so nakikita ko ngayon how can you account properly iyong intelligence fund na iligay mo lang naman diyan ah expenses or paying the persons patrolling the streets at this hour, ganoon, kapag may Kadayawan tayo, ganoon," he said.
Duterte also pointed out that Arroyo has been denied a speedy trial. Arroyo was arrested in October 2012 and has been detained at the Veterans Medical Memorial Center in Quezon City since then.
The Supreme Court (SC) last October ordered a 30-day suspension of the proceedings of Arroyo’s plunder case at the Sandiganbayan. A month later, the SC extended the suspension order for 90 more days.
The trial of her plunder case at the Sandiganbayan resumed on March 3.
“She has been detained for so long. The trial delayed. Alam mo, under the Constitution, ground for dismissal iyan with prejudice. Meaning, you cannot file the case again when you are denied a speedy trial. Dapat talaga mabilis, she has been there for two years na. Kaawa naman. Walang trial trial. Kung trial araw-araw, there is nothing to be complaining about,” he said. —JST, GMA News