I really don’t agree, but let’s hear what Nueva Viscaya Bishop says…
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – Weeks before the president departs from Malacañang, one of her most staunch supporters — the bishop of the diocese of Nueva Vizcaya — has declared that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is one of the best presidents the Philippines ever had.
Despite attacks from forces out to undermine her leadership, Arroyo remains to be one of the country’s best presidents, Bishop Ramon Villena said in a speech before hundreds of villagers.
The speech was delivered during Mrs. Arroyo’s inauguration of the Bitnong-Belance road in Dupax del Norte town Monday.
“Our time may judge you as unpopular but I’m sure history will soon rectify this judgment and prove that you are one of the best presidents this country has ever had,” he said in a speech, which also thanked the President for the project’s completion.
There are “some critics who are making criticisms here and there” but has yet to come out with strong evidence, said Villena, who was emotional in his speech.
In an obvious swipe against congressional inquiries that probed controversial deals and issues that hounded the Arroyo administration — including the ZTE Broadband Scandal, the Fertilizer Scam, and the alleged rigging of the 2004 elections — Villena noted that “they” have investigated for so long but nothing came out of it.
“Ang tagal nilang nag imbestiga pero wala naman ebidensya pero sa ebidensya for her love…meron ebidensya, malakas ang ebidensya ng kanyang pag-ibig sa atin,” he said.
(It took a long time for them to investigate but they came up with no evidence. However, there’s strong evidence of her love for us.)
According to him, Mrs. Arroyo is the only president that has ever visited the area and in the process, has made it one of her “greatest legacy and gift to the indigenous peoples of Belance and the entire Novo Vizcayanos.”
Bishop known to be soft towards illegal numbers game
In his diocese, the prelate has his own share of controversies particularly his alleged soft hand stance against ‘jueteng’ or illegal numbers game.
While he periodically assails it, some parishioners have complained that he could have shown a more hard line approach against illegal gambling than just issuing statements or that he could have taken advantage of his closeness to the president to seek a crackdown on jueteng at least in his diocese.
Nueva Vizcaya is currently one of the provinces in the country that is host to Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation’s online numbers game.
It is almost identical to jueteng but its numbers are generated electronically from Jai-alai games played at the Fronton inside the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority based in Sta. Ana Cagayan.
Although its legality is still being contested, a temporary restraining order has been issued, allowing its continued operation.
Villena, a senior member of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and presidential appointee as chairman of the Regional Development Council in Region 2, has been known as one Mrs. Arroyo’s most steadfast supporters.
His reportedly is a long time friend of the Arroyo family since the children of the First Family were still toddlers.
He said that he personally requested the president for the road project in Belance which, incidentally, is his favorite parish.
The Catholic prelate said that he will always cherish and remember their friendship everytime he will pass by the road going to the village.
At the celebration of his 71st birthday last March 16 at the Clergy House in capital town Bayombong, Bishop Villena even extolled Mrs. Arroyo by pronouncing that she is the “Queen of Infrastructures.”
The mountain village of Belance is an agricultural community, producing a variety of fruits, vegetables, and root crops but its rugged roads has contributed little to the upliftment of its people.
The paving of the 13.194 kilometer, P 330 million Bitnong-Belance road that started in 2008, is part of the government’s North Luzon Agri-Busines Quadrangle project and is seen to finally help improve the economy not only of the mountain communities in Dupax del Norte but farmers across the province as a whole.
According to Secretary Victor Domingo of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), it is projected to be the inception of a road network that will open trade between the provinces of Aurora in Region 3 and Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino in Region 2.
Source: — RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV