Watching the morning news in the aftermath of the airport standoff between the DOJ and the attempt of the Arroyos to "seek medical treatment abroad" (the official line from the GMA camp, so let's go with that), I certainly wasn't disappointed in my expectations that both GMA's/the Arroyos' lawyer and spokesperson would play the "We're the victim here!" card.
Predictably, they did the publicity rounds, deploring their "shabby treatment" at NAIA on national television.
And while Elena Bautista-Horn, spokesperson of former President Arroyo is not above turning on the waterworks to elicit sympathy for her cause, the legal counsel - how many are under GMA's employ this very moment? - who answered questions on TV took a different tack.
Atty. Ferdinand Topacio set Twitter ablaze as a trending topic when he pronounced over ANC's (ABS-CBN's News Channel) program Headstart his willingness to have one of his balls cut off, when asked about the certainty of the Arroyos returning should they be allowed to leave the country. "Papatanggal ko yung isang itlog ko kapag hindi bumalik ang mga Arroyo. I am confident they will return." (See clip and reactions here: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/11/16/11/topacios-got-balls)
Good thing I wasn't eating breakfast at that very moment.
But the statement that caused me more pause was when Topacio also said, "I'm a good judge of character.", and that he never would have accepted the case of the Arroyos if they were not sincere. (See full story here: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/11/16/11/topacio-ill-have-my-ball-cut-if-arroyos-dont-return)
Did I hear that correctly?
Why don't we have a run-down of issues and questions that have been raised about GMA and her husband/family, in an effort to understand what Atty. Topacio may have been referring to as the dial on his moral compass that convinced him to take the case. (Many thanks to the PCIJ article I am drawing this from for memorializing these lovely moments. Just type "GMA scandal" on their website and you will find pages of articles. Details are here: http://pcij.org/stories/shame-and-scandal-in-the-family/)
Awarding a controversial $470 million contract to Argentine firm IMPSA (Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anonima), just 4 days after the Arroyo adminstration assumed office. Then Justice Secretary Hernando Perez was accused of receiving $2 million from ex-Representative Mark Jimenez, who brokered the deal.
From 1992 to 2004, non-declaration in her SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) of the properties she and her husband amassed in San Francisco, through his realty corporation LTA Realty Corp.
A personal connection with alleged jueteng boss Bong Pineda.
Overpricing by over P600 million of the construction of the 5.1-kilometer President Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard at the Manila Bay reclamation area.
PIATCO/NAIA Terminal 3/Fraport fiasco.
Senator Lacson accusing then First Gentleman Mike Arroyo of being "Jose Pidal", and allegedly siphoning off campaign funds to this account. Arroyo's brother, Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo, came forward to claim that he was Jose Pidal.
The alleged diversion of P728 million from the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani program to President Arroyo’s campaign war chest in the form of development assistance funds to local government units - and we were introduced to the name Joc-Joc Bolante. (Then Agriculture Undersecretary and a classmate of Mike Arroyo, as well as a colleague in the Rotary Club.)
Two lawyers from PRO-CON(stitution) filed a disqualification case against President Arroyo before the Comelec, saying she was behind the enhanced Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s Greater Medicare Access or GMA program, which they claimed was meant to prop up her candidacy.
The First Gentleman was the subject of another controversy over his alleged use of a $20,000-a-night suite at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada during the boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Mexico’s Erick Morales.
The Le Cirque meal.
Talking to then Comelec Commissioner Garci about her "votes" while elections were taking place, and calling it a lapse of judgement in her televised apology to the nation. (That infamous "Not Once But Twice!" video of Susan Roces, wife of deceased actor and presidential contender Fernando Poe, Jr. still fresh in everyone's minds.) And who can forget GMA's "I am...sorry." clip?
Here's a snippet of GMA's conversation with Garci: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPln-yPn-HQ
I don't think this list is by any means exhaustive.
My only question about Atty. Topacio is, was it Opposite Day when he was interviewed?