Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the October 27, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

Those who are quick on the draw usually end up shooting their feet. – Philip Gilmore

Let’s start with the interesting exchange between Gloria Arroyo’s son, Mikey, and Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Mikey is praising Sen. Angara’s call to investigate Secretaries Soliman and Deles for their role in the allegedly anomalous Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificate (Peace) Bonds transaction.

“Sen. Edgardo Angara’s call to investigate both Secretaries Soliman and Deles is justified. And coming from a statesman like Sen. Angara, who is himself allied with the new administration, I honestly believe his act is highly commendable.”

Sec. Lacierda responded, “Let me state that several hearings have already been conducted in the past and Secretary Dinky Soliman has always stated – and the truth has borne her out – that she was never involved in the Code-NGO bonds.”

Mikey fired back, “Secretary Lacierda claims President Arroyo was cleared by Congress composed mainly of allies of the former president. But then, the very people who cleared President Arroyo were also the ones whom Secretary Lacierda says cleared Secretaries Soliman and Deles. If he questions the credibility of Congress in clearing former President Arroyo, then he should also question its credibility when it cleared Secretaries Soliman and Deles. From whatever point of view you are on, you can say this is clearly a double standard in terms of judgment.” True enough.

But then he had to add, ”Why is the Palace so apprehensive in submitting Secretaries Soliman and Deles for investigation by the Truth Commission? Wouldn’t this administration be doing a great service for the two by giving them a chance to clear their names once and for all?”

And so he exposed his mother to the same question, why did she never allow investigations into her conduct to proceed so that she could clear her name once and for all?

President Aquino, please grant Mikey’s wish. He deserves to know the truth.

Business Mirror columnist and partylist representative Jonathan de la Cruz said Gloria Arroyo was present at the creation: “Records show that the P10-billion “Peace Bonds” were issued at the behest of the Caucus of Development NGO Networks Inc., a.k.a. Code-NGO, which first brought up the ‘creative financing’ idea in a thanksgiving gathering which the group hosted for then-President Gloria Arroyo just days after her takeover in 2001. Present in that meeting were the group’s key leaders, many of whom had actively participated in the ouster of then- President Joseph Estrada and who had by then accepted positions in the new administration.”

Those records raise several questions:

Did Mikey’s mother say “No way!” when the Peace Bonds idea was proposed? No, as a matter of fact, she was all for it. That’s why the Central Bank “bestowed zeros with secondary reserve eligibility” and the BIR granted tax incentives to make the Peace Bonds attractive to its primary market – banks and insurance companies. Would those government agencies have been as generous if Mikey’s mother did not endorse the Peace Bonds?

Soliman and Deles are accused of pocketing commissions from the transaction. Would a micro-manager so makulit she even phoned Garci to check on the progress of cheating in the 2004 election entrust to a couple of subordinates the implementation of her first poverty eradication and alleviation program? Did she not even ask her subordinates where the commissions from the Peace Bonds transaction went? And why, despite the incessant clamor for an investigation, did she not order one during her nine years in the Palace?

Finally, Mikey’s mother was also allegedly involved in the Impsa bribery/extortion incident that also happened “just days after her takeover in 2001.” Compared to the profits from the Peace Bonds, Impsa is chump change and so the question is: if indeed there was dirty money from the Peace Bonds, how did that humongous booty slip through her sticky little fingers?

By all means, give Mikey the thorough investigation he is asking for. I’m sure he’s dying to hear his mother explain her role in the Peace Bonds.