Sunday, October 9, 2011

Will Arroyos do a Thaksin Shinawatra or a Joseph Estrada?

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - With the possibility raised that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband could be in jail on nonbailable charges by Christmas, some lawmakers are wondering whether the couple will do "a Thaksin" or "an Erap," (Joseph Estrada).
"They may likely do a Thaksin," said Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao.
"The possibility [of seeking political asylum] is strong considering that the charges against them, ranging from plunder to electoral sabotage, are nonbailable offenses," he said.
Aggabao was referring to Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, who went into exile in 2009 after being convicted under his successor's administration.
To gain political asylum, Arroyo will claim that she and her family are victims of "political persecution," Aggabao said.
"The United States will be a safe bet [for asylum]. Surely they have friends at the US State Department developed over the years she was President," he said.
But Rep. Rodel Batocabe of the party-list group Ako Bicol reckoned that Arroyo would tread the path taken by ousted President Joseph "Erap" Estrada, who faced charges even if it meant being detained for years.
Estrada, who was deposed in 2001, was eventually convicted of plunder and immediately pardoned by Arroyo. He ranked second in the 2010 presidential election.
"I don't think they will seek asylum. As former President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is cognizant of her place in history," Batocabe said.

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