05/31/2005, 00.00
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Corruption charges against President Arroyo's son

Jueteng operator tells Senate hearing that Arroyo's son pocketed monthly kickbacks from "jueteng lords". The President rejects the allegations, saying they are part of well-worn opposition tactics.

Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Juan Miguel Arroyo, oldest son of Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was accused of taking kickbacks from the country's "jueteng lords".

Self-confessed jueteng operator Wilfredo Mayor, 50, who turned state evidence on a pledge of immunity from the Senate, said yesterday during a Senate hearing that from 1995 to 2003 he paid off politicians, police and journalists.

Mr Mayor accused 'Mickey' Arroyo of demanding monthly payolas (undercover or indirect payments) of 600,000 pesos (about € 9,000, US$ 11,500). He also accused current national police chief Arturo Lomibao and police chief superintendent Victor Luga of doing the same.

In his presentation, he explained how every month he paid out some eight million pesos (€ 114,000, US$ 145,000) or 17 per cent of his regular turnover.

Mayor had to admit that he had to evidence to back his allegations and that he never directly met any of the accused since their transactions were handled by middlemen.

He only agreed to give evidence after the Senate agreed to give him total immunity from any charges stemming from his testimony.

President Macapagal-Arroyo called the allegations "part of well-worn opposition tactics" designed to remove her from office.

Former President Joseph Estrada was also ousted four years ago after a similar scandal.

Oscar V. Cruz, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, has been campaigning for years against jueteng and the corruption that comes with it. Now, as he wrote on his latest blog, "[p]ayback time has hopefully come to the infamous jueteng lords."

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See also
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A parliamentary commission looks into charges against Arroyo
Commission to investigate Arroyo announced
Filipino nun opposes graft and former President Arroyo's husband
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