Thursday, March 8, 2007



Read this petition for the disbarment of ‘First Gentleman’ Jose Miguel Arroyo.

This document, along with its incriminating pictures, has been circulating in some sectors of Philippine society for sometime. The petitioner, a woman who used to be closely associated with Arroyo, wants him disbarred as a lawyer for immorality, as well as graft and corruption. Among the information she cited were hints about the infamous ‘Jose Pidal Account,’ rice cartel, and Arroyo’s purchase in December 2004 of a real property at the Marina Area in San Francisco, U.S.A. worth One Hundred Twenty Five Million US Dollars ($ 125 Million). The latter is particularly surprising given that their published statement of assets and liabilities could not have enabled them to buy such a property, and given that their own home in La Vista, QC was almost foreclosed.

Sift through the rather awkward and graphic accounts of the relationship-turned-sour and there will be rewarding insights about Arroyo’s diversion of election funds and illegally acquired wealth. The document does not have the last few pages that would have revealed the name of the petitioner’s lawyers. We have removed the names of people who are not public figures, as well as two pictures that include a minor.

It is not clear why the petition did not make it to court; but it is clear that the document was definitely leaked to Philippine society.

We expect that Arroyo, who has filed 43 libel suits against journalists from various publications late last year, and filed another round against seven journalists only last February 20, will claim that the document below is libelous because it is not a public document and he is not a public figure. One could argue that perhaps he is ill-advised by his lawyers, except that he happens to be a lawyer himself.

* This refers to the title editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on March 2007 entitled 'First Boor,' referring to Jose Miguel Arroyo after he challenged to a fight a defense lawyer who was cross-examining him during the trial of one of the several libel cases he has filed against the media. The full editorial is located here.

No less than the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Tuesday added its voice of support to the class suit to be filed by Filipino journalists against President Arroyo's husband after he lodged libel charges against 43 media practitioners. The full story is here.