Philippines to file 2 graft cases against Arroyo

AP News
Posted: Sep 13, 2011 6:14 AM
Philippines to file 2 graft cases against Arroyo

The Philippine government will file at least two major corruption complaints against the former president before the end of the year, senior officials said Tuesday.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the credibility of President Benigno Aquino III's administration hinges on its ability to prosecute former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other officials accused of corruption.

He said authorities were building "airtight" cases and avoiding any leak of information to ensure convictions. He declined to give details about the cases, which are likely to be filed before Christmas.

Another Cabinet official, however, said at least two major complaints were being prepared against Arroyo. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Aquino, the son of revered pro-democracy icons, won a landslide victory in May last year that was partly credited to his promise to battle endemic corruption in the Southeast Asian nation of 94 million people.

Arroyo, his predecessor, faces a number of corruption allegations stemming from her nine years in power. She has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.

Abad said the administration was determined to stamp out corruption at every level of government.

"We know who the small guys are," Abad said at new conference. "We want to get into the roots of the problems and hit at the principals."

Abad said corruption flourished in Arroyo's time because of a lack of internal controls and a culture of political patronage. He said such weaknesses were being addressed with more transparency, accountability and anti-graft checks under Aquino.

Most government transactions, for example, will be made through an electronic procurement system instead of cash to discourage graft, and financial disbursements are being scrutinized more strictly, Abad said.

Anti-graft checks have allowed the Department of Public Works and Highways to bring down the cost of projects by up to 30 percent, saving the government huge amounts of money, Abad said.