House Speaker Nograles asked to denounce colleagues in P 1 million New York dinner
The fisherfolk activist group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday pressed House Speaker Prospero Nograles to denounce members of the House of Representatives who took part in that P 1 million lavish dinner at Le Cirque restaurant in New York allegedly sponsored by Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.
In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Speaker Nograles should castigate Rep. Romualdez and other congressmen led by House Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa (Mindoro Occidental) and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez.
“Speaker Nograles has no choice but rebuke and denounce these New Yorker wannabes in Congress in public. By the way, was he a part of that 20,000 US dollar dinner extravaganza? Just asking Mr. Speaker,” said Hicap.
The Pamalakaya leader said the congressmen who were part of the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s official entourage during her recent visit in the United States should speak on what he called a highly immoral issue.
“These pro-Arroyo congressmen who were part of the Arroyo’s officialdom should tell the public what transpired on the night of August 2 inside Le Cirque restaurant. They should come out in the open and speak the truth and nothing but the truth,” added Hicap.
Pamalakaya also challenged House Speaker Nograles to file a resolution denouncing the
P 1 million dining extravaganza, adding that the house leadership is morally and politically obliged to issue a public denouncement and apology for the aristocracy and arrogance of President Arroyo, the members of her family and congressmen allied with Malacañang.
Earlier, Pamalakaya said Mrs. Arroyo and party should charge the P 1 million dinner tab to their respective pockets and not from public funds.
“The Filipino public wants an assurance that the money spent for that lavish dinner will not come from public funds, not even a single centavo. We cannot allow these modern day aristocrats and oligarchs to oblige the Filipino people to pay for their dine and wine extravaganza as self-proclaimed New Yorkers from the East,” the group said.
Pamalakaya also said President Arroyo, her husband First Gentleman Atty Jose Miguel Arroyo, Leyte Rep. Romualdez, Quezon Rep. Suarez, Deputy Majority Speaker Villarosa and the rest of the 20-man entourage who joined the August 2 dinner in Le Cirque Restaurant should issue a separate or joint statement that the P 1 million spent for the dinner will come from their own pockets and not from Filipino taxpayers money.
The group said President Arroyo, her husband and the pro-Arroyo lawmakers who joined the P 1 million lavish dinner should also issue an across-the-country public apology for insulting almost 90 percent of the Filipino people currently languishing in chronic crisis.
“Millions of people are starving and dying because of landless, joblessness and poverty. In fact, another 2.1 million Filipinos have been added to the section of the population who could no longer afford three meals a day. But Arroyo and company of aristocrats and New Yorker wannabes do not recognize this situation and instead went ahead with their brazen, immoral and incorrigible display of power and arrogance,” said Pamalakaya.
Richard Johnson wrote the brief report in the Page Six “Eat and Drink” section of the NY Post online edition.
It read: “The economic downturn hasn’t persuaded everyone to pinch pennies. Philippines President Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was at Le Cirque the other night with a large entourage enjoying the good life, even though the former comptroller of her country’s armed services, Carlos Garcia, was found guilty earlier this year of perjury and two of his sons were arrested in the US on bulk cash-smuggling charges. Macapagal-Arroyo ordered several bottles of very expensive wine, pushing the dinner tab up to $20,000.”
But Palace secretary Cerge Remonde said the dinner was hosted by Leyte Rep. Romualdez for the First Couple. As to the cost of the dinner, Mrs. Arroyo’s press secretary Malacañang does not how much because it is the host that chose the menu and picked up the tab for the dinner.
But Pamalakaya did not buy Remonde’s explanation that Rep. Romualdez paid the bill for the 20,000 US dollar dinner at Le Cirque. The militant group said President Arroyo could have sourced the money from their allocated budget during the recent trip to US.
The militant group theorized the funds could also come from the audit free intelligence funds of President Arroyo. “Since its audit free, Malacañang has the freedom to spend taxpayers’ money misrepresented as audit free intelligence fund. Let us remind the Filipino taxpaying public that they are dealing with the Arroyo officialdom who operates the Office of the President like a gangland,” Pamalakaya added.
“Mr. Remonde is a certified liar that is why he is picked up by President Arroyo as its’ press secretary. Now wonder, in every 10 statements he issues for the presidency, 11 of them are false,” said Pamalakaya. #