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Philippine leader blasts court corruption ruling

Philippine leader blasts court corruption ruling

President Benigno Aquino III lashed out Wednesday at a Supreme Court decision rejecting an investigative body he created to look into alleged corruption during his predecessor's administration, vowing his anti-graft battle would not be deterred by the setback.
The Supreme Court declared on Tuesday that Aquino's first executive order that created a "Truth Commission" was unconstitutional because it unfairly singled out his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's government for a wide-ranging corruption investigation. A majority of the justices on the 15-member tribunal were appointed by Arroyo, who left office in June.
The decision sends a signal that large-scale corruption pays, an irate Aquino said.
"Everybody will now be tempted because you can steal these gargantuan amounts of money and you can smile your way to the bank and enjoy your loot out of people's misery," Aquino said in a televised news conference.
Aquino said he created the five-member commission "to put a closure to what was said to be one of the darkest chapters of our history," adding he would never stop his anti-corruption battle and would fulfill a campaign promise to jail those guilty.
"I don't surrender when I know I'm right," Aquino said, standing in front of his key aides.
A battery of lawyers will review the court decision to determine whether the government will appeal or amend the presidential order that created the commission. In the Philippines, the Supreme Court allows losing parties to appeal within 15 days before issuing a final ruling.
Although he did not mention Arroyo by name, Aquino cited a number of corruption and vote-rigging scandals to which his predecessor has been linked.
Commission officials have said they planned to investigate at least 23 cases of alleged massive graft and corruption, including two in which Arroyo was implicated. She survived four coup plots and four opposition impeachment bids during her tumultuous nine years in power.
Arroyo has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.
She and her husband were linked to a bribery scandal involving a $330 million deal with a Chinese telecommunications company that she later aborted after it was decried as overpriced. Opposition politicians also accused her of conspiring with an election official and loyal generals to rig the 2004 presidential elections, which she won by a million votes over a popular movie star rival.
Aquino, son of revered democracy icons, won a landslide election victory in May, promising to battle pervasive corruption and widespread poverty.


Updated : 2021-10-27 03:16 GMT+08:00