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2007 Bribery in Malacanang

Page history last edited by Jon 11 years, 4 months ago

More officials admit getting P500,000

 

By Tonette Orejas

Central Luzon Desk

First Posted 02:32:00 10/16/2007

 

Filed Under: Politics, Local authorities, Impeachment

MANILA, Philippines -- Declaring no one could suppress the truth, Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio Monday showed on television the bundle of P500,000 he said he received in Malacañang, triggering similar admissions from another governor and a congresswoman.

 

Their decision to go public about the monetary handouts that Malacañang had tried to downplay prompted calls in the Senate for an investigation to find out who was behind the handouts and if President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was involved.

 

“It’s very crucial that Malacañang should confirm which particular office the funds came from,” Panlilio said during a press conference in the City of San Fernando.

 

He said if subpoenaed by the Senate, he would appear and tell the truth.

 

Bulacan Gov. Joselito “Jonjon” Mendoza and Pangasinan Rep. Rachel Arenas also came out in the open to admit they had received money from Malacañang, amid Palace attempts to douse an impeachment move against Ms Arroyo.

 

Cebu City Rep. Antonio Cuenco had also previously admitted receiving monetary “gifts” from the Palace. Several other congressmen and governors made the same admissions but chose to remain unidentified.

 

“I am a priest ... I cannot lie,” Panlilio, a Roman Catholic priest who defeated well-entrenched politicians in the May elections to become governor, said at the Pampanga capitol.

 

Asked if he was declaring war on Ms Arroyo, his province mate, the governor said: “I am not declaring war on anybody ... I am declaring war against untruth and lies.”

 

No to bribery

Panlilio, who first disclosed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer last weekend the handout he received on Thursday after attending a meeting in Malacañang, reiterated he took the money in the belief that he could use it for community projects in his province.

 

He stressed he would return the money to Malacañang “if this was given as a bribe.”

 

Panlilio said it was Mendoza who handed the bundle of P1,000 bills in a paper bag to his chief of staff, who then turned it over to him.

 

The Pampanga governor said that initially he had erroneously told the Inquirer that the money was handed him by a Malacañang functionary because everything happened so fast.

 

On the request of reporters, Panlilio showed the paper bag before media cameras and then he produced the money -- P1,000 bills stacked in five bundles of P100,000 each.

 

“I did not think it was bribe money, otherwise, I would not have accepted it,” Panlilio said, reading from a prepared statement.

 

Letter to Malacañang

“I received it in good faith. I considered the money to have come from public funds, as it was given by Malacañang, and it will be used for public purpose.”

 

Panlilio showed reporters a copy of a letter he was sending to Malacañang to acknowledge the receipt of the money and to request the name of the payer.

 

If the payer was identified, he said the provincial treasurer would issue an official receipt for it.

 

The money, he said, would in the meantime be kept in the capitol’s vault.

 

Not a numbers game

In telling the truth, Panlilio said he was “not being self-righteous.”

 

Speaking in Filipino and English, he said: “All of us have a conscience. I have a conscience and it is the voice of God. I opted to listen to my conscience.”

 

Asked why many of those who attended the Palace meeting on Thursday were denying that they received anything, Panlilio said: “Truth is not a numbers game.”

 

“I have always believed that truth can be suppressed at the moment but in the finality, truth will come out,” he said.

 

Truth will snowball

“I also believe that once truth is set forth, the adherence to this truth will snowball and a critical mass of people will support (it).”

 

Mendoza, who confirmed that he too received P500,000, said he was also willing to attend any Senate investigation.

 

Mendoza said the paper bags containing the money intended for him and Panlilio were given by a “female staff in Malacañang” shortly after he left the meeting of governors attended by Ms Arroyo.

 

He said he did not know the woman and he did not get her name.

 

Two different accounts

Mendoza admitted it was he, not a male Palace staff, as Panlilio had said earlier, who handed the brown paper gift bag to Panlilio’s chief of staff.

 

Mendoza, a provincial leader of the President’s party, Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), said he was told by the woman: “These are for your community-based projects. Kindly hand the other one to Among Ed.”

 

Mendoza gave a different account to the Inquirer on Saturday.

 

Mendoza on Monday said he replied “No” to the Inquirer’s query on Saturday because what was asked of him was a “brown envelope.”

 

For barangay projects

He had also replied “No” when asked if he had received the same amount as Panlilio.

 

Mendoza said he accepted the money because he was told by the female staff that it could be used for “barangay projects.”

 

He said he did not think of the money as a bribe and that he believed he did nothing wrong when he took it.

 

Mendoza said he entrusted the money to Board Member Cornelio Santos, the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay in Bulacan, who confirmed he had custody of it.

 

Arenas, too

Arenas, a member of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party, admitted she received money from Malacañang but said she had picked it up from the House of Representatives.

 

Arenas declined to say how much money she got and did not say what Malacañang office had told her about it.

 

“I was just told that there is something for me,” she said.

 

Negros Oriental Gov. Emilio Macias admitted he received P200,000 after the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) meeting in Malacañang on Thursday.

 

But Macias said the money was not a bribe but was intended for the Oct. 29 meeting with governors to be held in his province for the launch of the Integrated Tax collection system (I-Tax), a project introduced by a German foundation.

 

The governor said he believed it came from the League of Provinces of the Philippines and not from Malacañang because the one who handed him the money was a staff of the league’s secretariat.

 

Macias dismissed allegations that the money was a bribe for them to support Ms Arroyo in the impeachment case against her since the governors could not do anything about the case.

 

Allowance for Domogan

Baguio City Rep. Mauricio Domogan Monday admitted that he received “an allowance” on Thursday but not in Malacañang in the morning but in the House of Representatives in the evening.

 

Domogan, a member of the Lakas party, added that the P200,000 he received came from “the House through the Office of the Speaker,” not from Ms Arroyo or Malacañang.

 

He said he was not present during the Thursday breakfast Ms Arroyo had with 190 congressmen.

 

He said there were many others like him who received their allowances at the House on Thursday evening.

 

With reports from Carmela Reyes, Inquirer Central Luzon; Gabriel Cardinoza and Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes, Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Jhunnex Napallacan Inquirer Visayas 

Comments (1)

Jon said

at 5:12 pm on May 15, 2009

This is an article taken from www.inquirer.net. As with the other controversies and alleged corruption cases, this too has been forgotten by many but not by all...

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