Militants eye GMA loyalist lawmakers as hostile witnesses in P 1 million New York dine probe

Militants eye GMA loyalist lawmakers as hostile witnesses in P 1 million New York dine probe

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)said on Sunday that close allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who where with her in the August 5 dinner at La Cirque in New York should be summoned and investigated by the House of Representatives once Congress starts its probe on the controversial $ 20,000 lavish dinner at the ritzy French Restaurant.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said House Speaker Prospero Nograles should compel House Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa (Mindoro Occidental), Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez and Camarines Sur congressmena and presidential son Dato Arroyo to testify in case the House leadership decides to call a hearing on the P 1 million New York dinner, shortly before Arroyo’s entourage went back to the country.

“All congressmen who were with GMA during the trip should report to the Filipino public what really transpired on the evening of Aug.5. They are all accountable to the taxpaying public and not to the ruling syndicate in Malacañang. And no more denials please,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said aside from the congressmen, the House should also summon First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo and other Cabinet officials who were with Arroyo headed by Palace Press secretary Cerge Remonde.

Hicap said the probe should not be limited to the New York dinnner controversy adding that Mrs. Arroyo and her entourage should also explain to the public the reported $15,000 (P719,925) dinner which took place in a steak house in Washington D.C., after Mrs. Arroyo met with US President Barack Obama.

Pamalakaya said President Arroyo was accompanied by 64 people in that dinner at steak house in the American capital. The militant group was refering to a Washington Post story that says Mrs. Arroyo entourage of 65 including security and food tasters had dinner at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse on 15th Street NW hours after she met with President Obama.

It said the group took over one of the restaurant’s private rooms and dined on lobster, steak and fine wines.

Pamalakaya said the money spent for the dinner at Bobby Van’s Steak House in Washington D.C is enough to buy some 40,000 kilos of rice for poor families at P 18 per kilo or 90,000 pieces of noodles at P 8 per piece for starving and hungry kids all over the country.

At the conclusion of the meal, an unidentified woman opened a handbag stuffed with cash, counted out bills and paid the $15,000 tab, which included a generous tip, the Washington Post said.

“Who’s that girl who opened a handbag stuffed with cash and counted out bills and paid the $ 15,000 tab plus the generous tip. Was she Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa? Or was it one of the Girl Fridays of Mrs. Arroyo who handles her finances? Who’s that Girl in the Bobby Van’s Steakhouse dinner scandal?” Pamalakaya asked. #

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