Wheelchair joke irks Arroyo ally-A A +A
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
MANILA -- The House opposition bloc on Wednesday slammed President Benigno Aquino III over his "wheelchair" joke against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
"We in the House Minority take offense at the President's jokes at the expense of his predecessor before a Filipino audience and the international media in New Zealand. This joke is ungentlemanly and unbecoming of a person in the President's position," House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said in a press conference.
"All of this comedy help cover up the missteps in this administration's economic and political governance," he added.
During his two-day state visit in New Zealand, Aquino told overseas Filipinos at the Auckland City Convention Center a joke he received through text message.
"Share ko ho lang sa inyo isang tawang-tawa ako sa narinig kong joke. Yung mga kababayan raw ho nating corrupt sa Pilipinas, kagagara ng kotse, kamamahal, katutulin. Pero pagka ginustong tumakas, ang ginagamit wheelchair (Let me just share this joke, I kept laughing when I got it. It said, 'Our fellow Filipinos who are corrupt use luxurious cars, so expensive and fast. But when they try to escape, they use a wheelchair')," he said as the crowd applauded.
In November last year, Arroyo attempted to leave the country to attend a medical check-up in Singapore. Immigration officials, however, prevented her from leaving despite a Supreme Court-issued temporary restraining order on the watch list order against Arroyo.
Arroyo, who had then undergone three cervical spine surgeries, was brought to the airport on a wheelchair.
The former President is currently under hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center over plunder charges. She is set to be arraigned before the Sandiganbayan on October 29, Monday.
"She is not even capable of attending her arraignment. She continues to lose weight. You can see in her body language that she is in pain. It (the joke) is insensitive to an ailing grandmother and disrespectful gesture towards a former Head of State," Suarez said.
Malacañang earlier defended Aquino following criticisms about the wheelchair joke.
"Let's not take ourselves too seriously. At the end of the day, it was a joke," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)