Malacañang Palace said Arroyo's term MISUSED around ₱836 billion to more than ₱1 trillion

Gloria Arroyo's term MISUSED around ₱836 billion to more than ₱1 trillion - Malacañang Palace said 

Noy slams Arroyo same day Palace wished her peace

President Benigno Aquino III again criticized former President and now Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the corruption that plagued her administration.

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In his speech at the first state conference on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on Thursday, Aquino lamented that the Philippines missed opportunities during Arroyo's term and that the former President left him a government ruined by corruption.

"I myself have pointed out that the ten years before I stepped into office had been called a lost decade—one in which our country could have developed strong foundations to build upon. Instead, after my predecessor stepped down, our administration found a system of governance long decayed by corruption," Aquino said.

In giving the Philippines its first investment grade, debt watcher Fitch has credited the Arroyo administration for beginning the reforms needed to improve government finances.

"Improvements in fiscal management begun under President Arroyo have made general government debt dynamics more resilient to shocks. Strong economic growth and moderate budget deficits have brought the general government (GG) debt/GDP ratio in line with 'BBB' median," Fitch said in a statement in March.

Aquino's fresh criticisms against Arroyo came after Malacañang wished for peace and goodwill during the holidays for the former president.

Despite being three years into the presidency, Aquino continues to hit the past administration. In a speech last October, he said the amount of public funds misused during Arroyo's term was around 836 billion and may exceed 1 trillion.

The President claimed that his administration has since taken steps to curb corruption in the government after Arroyo left the Palace.

He said the first thing his leadership identified was that no one can be above the law in the fight against corruption.

"It should not matter what position you hold in the bureaucratic ladder: If you do wrong by the people, then you should be held accountable," Aquino said.

The President recalled that in his term, cases were filed against Arroyo while former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona was impeached.

But Aquino said the campaign against corruption is not limited to those in public office as the government will go after anyone, regardless of profession.

"If you do not pay your taxes, the state will pursue you. It means that no matter how many resources you have at your disposal, if you choose to smuggle goods, you cannot escape the government," Aquino said.

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He said in the past three years, the government has filed 423 cases against tax evaders and smugglers.

Aquino also enumerated some of the other anti-corruption programs of his administration such as the reforms in the Bureau of Customs and the zero-based budgeting system of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The President also mentioned the Budget ng Bayan and Pera ng Bayan campaigns of the DBM and Department of Finance and the most recent initiative, the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub or Project FAiTH which tracks the international donations in the wake of Super Typhoon "Yolanda." - philSTAR

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