"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Is there an arrest order in the US with Arroyo's name on it?

LOS ANGELES – I heard it first from a joke that has been going the email rounds.

"First Gentleman Arroyo nagpurigit, Eroplano gipa-emergency landing," said the irrepressible Balitang Bisdak (short for Bisayang Dako or Great Visayan) by one jmariespiritu. Nagpurigit, of course, is a mischievous Cebuano term for diarrhea. The dig was on Mike Arroyo's supposed mandate for an international flight to make an emergency landing on Nov. 21 because of bowel discomfort.

To recall, we have posted
here that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her party including her husband Mike was slated later that day to meet with selected members of the Filipino community during a stopover in Los Angeles on her way to Lima, Peru, for the APEC Summit. A coalition of militant groups were on hand to protest what they said was her frequent foreign junkets, her government's large-scale corruption, extreme poverty of the people, and the unabated killings and disappearances of civilians.

Malacanang Press Secretary Jesus Dureza had another take on why the presidential entourage failed to make it to LA as scheduled, according to Romeo P. Marquez in a news item likewise distributed through the Internet. Dureza, Marquez said, explained during a dinner-press conference at Max's Restaurant in Glendale on Nov. 26 that the president's husband had experienced "very severe stomach pain" while the plane was about eight hours to Los Angeles in the 15-hour flight from Manila. In Osaka, where the plane was diverted, doctors reportedly decided that Arroyo could not stand a few hours more of travel because, according to Dureza, Arroyo's condition then was "almost fatal".

That obviously conflicted with another part in the same news item that "Earlier on inside the chartered plane, Mr. Arroyo stood up to try to convince the President and her party that he was alright." It doesn't sound like "almost fatal" to this writer.

The diarrhea angle was still there in email messages from Frank Wenceslao, who signs as president, Philippine Anticorruption Movement USA, Inc.:
The Arroyos again proved being incurable liars by faking diarrhea for the emergency landing when the plane was only 4 hours to LA instead of flying for more than 6 hours back to Osaka.
Antonio C. Abaya, in his Dec. 8 column Diarrhea in the Air in Standard Today, said that another columnist, Lito Banayao, also raised the question "of why the chartered Philippine Air Lines Flight 001, carrying President Gloria Arroyo and her party to the APEC Summit in Lima Peru last Nov. 21, was diverted in mid-flight six hours after leaving Manila and made to detour to Osaka, Japan."

PGMA is said to have waited for Mr. Arroyo's physicians to arrive in Osaka from Manila (in a San Miguel Corporation HS-125 executive jet) before proceeding to Lima, causing her to miss most of the first day's agenda of the Summit.

Columnist Banayo, according to Abaya, quoted an unnamed "friend" who asked: "Was it a case of the presidential party being alerted by phone that someone among them was going to be picked up by authorities upon landing at Los Angeles airport for money-laundering activities?" If true, it would have been a repeat of the Jocjoc Bolante case.

Abaya also cited another of Wenceslao's theory that while protocol allows President Arroyo to come to the US, her husband is not unless with proper visa. He alluded to an alleged report that Atty. Arroyo's request for a U.S. visa was not granted.

Then there is the recent collapse of Lehmann Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG and many other Wall Street icons, Abaya said, that may have exposed some financial capers of someone in the presidential plane. He speculated in his Sept. 22 article that "the reason President Arroyo suddenly left for New York yesterday (Sept. 21) was to look after her family's investments in the suddenly nationalized AIG (American International Group). Illicit funds parked in AIG would now be subject to US anti-racketeering RICO laws…."

Abaya said that it is a significant fact that "six hours out of Manila, in a non-stop 12 hour flight eastward towards LAX, PAL Flight 001 would have been within or near a triangle described by Wake Island, Midway Island and Hawaii, the first two US territories, the third a state in the American Union."

In case of a medical emergency situation, Abaya said that the most logical place to make a stop would have been Honolulu, about an hour and a half or two hours away from where the plane was when the decision was made to land for Arroyo's hospitalization. Instead they chose to divert the plane to far away Osaka, out of U.S. jurisdiction.

Is it really true that Mr. Arroyo was about to be arrested by authorities in LAX for money laundering activities?" The differences in various time estimates notwithstanding, I say that's a fair question to ask.

PHOTO CAPTION: A coalition of militant groups holds a rally to protest alleged large-scale corruption, extreme poverty, and the unabated killings and disappearances of civilians during President Arroyo's slated arrival in Los Angeles. Photo by Jay Davis of Habi Arts

Dionesio C. Grava - Community journalist based in Los Angeles. Member of New America Media, Society of Professional Journalists, and Society of Environmental Journalists, among others.

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