Monthly Archives: March 2008

SC DECISION IS GMA’S IMMUNITY VS ACCOUNTABILITY

Gabriela Women’s Party criticized today the Supreme Court decision allowing Secretary Romulo Neri to invoke executive privilege in the Senate investigation of the multi-billion NBN-ZTE deal as a very dangerous precedent that virtually gives the president a cloak of immunity from accountability.

“What can now stop a president from committing a crime and invoking executive privilege? It is a dangerous precedent that legitimizes abuse of power of the presidency disregarding public interest and the people’s right to information,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza.

The Gabriela solon also said the Supreme Court decision automatically makes any impeachment case filed against the president a futile exercise as executive privilege can easily be invoked not just by the president but by those around her.

“It has clipped both chambers of Congress of the powers of oversight and it has tipped the scales of this government’s system of checks and balances to favor a single person– the president– over the public. This is not a democracy.”

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AFP OFFICIALS, LEGISLATORS WARNED AGAINST SEXIST REMARKS IN CA HEARING

“It is disconcerting that legitimate arguments against the promotion and/or confirmation of staunch allies of the Arroyo administration can be reduced to name-calling and labelling of women who hold strong opinions. These sort of sexist remarks are no different from centuries-old labels on staunch women fighters who were condemned as madwomen or witches.”

Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza, as she cautioned colleagues in the Commission on Appointments against stooping to the level of chauvinism and disrespect in order to railroad the appointments of 24 generals, who are reportedly being supported by Pres. Arroyo.

According to news reports, Sen. Jamby Madrigal received countless sexist remarks made in bad taste after Madrigal invoked Section 20 of the Senate rules thereby blocking the appointment of the generals. Quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer were military officials and generals who, in retort to Madrigal’s move quipped amongst themselves: “Kayo kasi, ayaw ninyong ligawan, may asim pa naman” and “Buang gyud ning bayhana ni” (This woman is crazy).

“It is but right that the CA conscientiously exercise its powers to scrutinize appointments. In the midst of a political crisis where positions of power can be handed out as paybacks and collaterals for loyalty, prudence, diligence and independence should be the stance that the CA should take,” Maza argued.

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MALACANANG DESPERATE AS IT MOBILIZES PSEUDO-PARTYLIST IN ITS DEFENSE AGAINST TRUTH

The women’s partylist group Gabriela criticized today moves  spearheaded by a pseudo-partylist group, Babae Ka to discredit NBN-ZTE  witness Rodolfo Jun Lozada.

“The cases filed by Babae Ka against Jun Lozada are meant to harass  him and and his family into silence. This is a move that benefits only  those that have been accused of large-scale corruption and bribery in  the senate investigations. This is a move to protect Mrs. Arroyo and the first family,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza.

“We have known all along that Babae Ka is a Malacanang stooge. They  were used by Malacanang in the elections to confuse women voters, but  failed. Now, apparently they are once more being used by Mrs. Arroyo
in a smear  campaign against Lozada. That Malacanang is once more mobilizing  losers with dubious connections in its defense speaks only of its desperation,” chided Maza.

Last 2007 elections, Gabriela exposed a Palace memorandum citing Babae  Ka as one of the administration-funded and -supported partylists. Sally Dagami, its chairperson, was reportedly a former Kaibigan ni GMA  coordinator, while a certain Nerissa Garcia, Executive Director of  Malacanang’s Office of External Affairs, is a standing member of the said group.

Gabriela filed a disqualification case against Babae Ka and three  other partylist groups alleged as Malacanang-backed groups in May  2007. The Commission on Elections dismissed the case citing Babae Ka’s  loss in the partylist elections as basis.

Babae ka! was also reportedly a member of the Malayang Babae para sa Cha Cha at Reporma (MELCHORA) which is affiliated with the Sigaw ng Bayan group, a Pro Charter Change and Pro-Peoples Initiative group
headed by Raul Lambino Jr. which is allegedly organized by the OEA and  DILG.

“The first family and their allies have already been exposed for their  insatiable greed for power and money. Moves to discredit Lozada will  not in any way affect the strength of his testimony. Nor will it cause  the snowballing calls for Mrs. Arroyo’s removal from office to dwindle.”

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ATTEMPTS AT COVER-UP BETRAY MALACANANG’S CULPABLE HAND IN SPRATLYS DEAL -MAZA

GABRIELA Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza today scored the Committee on Foreign Affairs for the cancellation of its meeting on Thursday to supposedly discuss the JMSU and the questions surrounding the constitutionality of the said agreement. “This indicates attempts of Malacanang and its allies to cover up possible violations of the Constitution.”

 

“That Malacanang adamantly refuses to bare the very basic details of the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking only gives the public much reason to speculate on the possibility that an all-out sell-out of our patrimony may have indeed been committed by Mrs. Arroyo. Show the map, show the contract and stop all attempts at cover-up.”

 

Maza explained that the JMSU which the governments of Philippines and China first facilitated with the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and eventually with the Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation (VOGC) allows the tripartite survey and exploration of the Spratlys or the Kalayaan Group of Islands, which is in violation of Constitutional guarantees to national sovereignty and patrimony.

 

“The agreement may have effectively conceded and compromised areas of our territory to the detriment of our national sovereignty and claim over the islands. The original copy of the signed JMSU, with annexes specifying the coordinates covered by the agreement and the map should be produced by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Malacanang,” said Maza.

 

Did Gloria Macapagal Arroyo consent to this exploration, despite tragic consequences on our territorial claim and sovereign right, in exchange for loans and contracts loaded with kickbacks? This is an issue of national interest and it is but right that the public is informed”

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MOST CORRUPT PRESIDENT, MOST CORRUPT ECONOMY

The women’s partylist group, GABRIELA today said the recent assessment released by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) putting the country on the top of its list of most corrupt economies in Asia comes no surprise as the list of unresolved anomalies under Mrs. Arroyo continue to unfold.

 

“Under the leadership of Mrs. Arroyo, we are once more the object of international shame. The audacity with which Mrs. Arroyo and her allies get away with corruption, bribery and lies now bring us this disrepute of being the most corrupt economy in Asia,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza

 

“This rings the alarm for the public and government officials to take action. For as long as truth and accountability remains elusive in the NBN-ZTE scandal, the recently unearthed Spratlys deal and several other scandals and previous allegations of corruption involving the first family as well as close allies of Mrs. Arroyo. International shame is the price that our country pays for the cover-ups, bribes and lies that this mafia-run government perpetuates.”

 

Unresolved issues of corruption under the Arroyo administration date back to Mrs. Arroyo’s first two years in office when multi-million deals on the Macapagal boulevard, the Fertilizer scam and Philhealth cards as well as the first gentleman’s Jose Pidal account was first revealed.

 

Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan meanwhile said that the PERC survey report only proves that the supposed anti-corruption campaign of the Arroyo government is a sham. “Lifestyle checks target only those in the outer seams of the corruption fabric. The big fishes who have managed to enrich themselves at the expense of public funds remain on the loose.”

 

According to the Gabriela solons, “We have yet to see the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the rampant corruption in this country. Addressing corruption in this country calls for further vigilance and active public participation on the affairs of governance, and the consequent removal of Mrs. Arroyo from office.” #

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RESOLUTION SEEKING JAPAN APOLOGY, COMPENSATION FOR COMFORT WOMEN APPROVED TODAY

The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs approved today on second reading House Resolution 124 “Resolution Expressing the Sense of the House of Representatives that the Philippine Government Urges the Government of Japan to Formally Acknowledge, Apologize and Accept its Responsibility over the Sexual Slavery of Young Women Commonly Known as Comfort Women by the Japanese Imperial Army During World War II and Provide compensation to the Victims in the light of the Adoption by the US House of Representatives of House Resolution 121 which States that Japan Formally Acknowledge, apologize and Accept Historical Responsibility in Clear and Unequivocal Manner over its Armed Force’s Coercion of Young Women into Sexual Slavery During its Colonial and Wartime Occupation of Asia, and in the Light of the Legislative Initiatives in the House of Councilors of Japan Seeking Apology, Compensation and Immediate Resolution of Issues Concerning Comfort Women.”

The resolution, an initiative of the women’s partylist group, GABRIELA hopes to bring the Philippine government at par with countries like the United States, Canada and the Netherlands which have approved resolutions in July 2007 (U.S.) and November 2007 (Canada, Netherlands) explicitly seeking the apology of the Japanese government for its crimes during World War II and compensation for the women victims of sexual slavery.

Nakakahiya. Sa bansa natin itong may maraming biktima tapos gubyerno pa natin ang nahuhuli sa pagtityak na mapanagutan ng bansang Hapon ang kanilang nagawang krimen sa ating mga kababaihan at babae pa man din ang pangulo. Indeed, it is high time that we take the cudgels for Filipina victims of sexual slavery during World War II. The Philippine government, for the longest time, has been remiss in its duty to do so,” said Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza.

“Mrs. Arroyo should be reminded that the interests of Filipina World War II comfort women should come first before Japanese business interests in our country. This was one of her first commitments after she took office in 2001.”

The Gabriela solons further said, “The victims are not getting any younger. Many of them have already died in the quest for justice. We hope that the resolution’s approval will be fast tracked in the plenary this week, before Congress goes into recess. ”#

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: OUT WITH GLORIA, THE BIGGEST WOE TO FILIPINO WOMEN

Militant women’s partylist group, GABRIELA today joined thousands of women in commemorating International Women’s day, calling on Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the country’s second woman president to step down.
 
“Gloria Arroyo, has become the biggest hindrance to women’s empowerment in this country.  In the midst of worsening poverty, one corruption scandal after another hounds her administration. Women find her governance culpable of plunder, electoral fraud, and with the latest controversy on the sell-out of the Spratlys—treason, ” said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza.
 
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ahs put our country on the map of human rights violations and corruption. Women have found ourselves in a much deeper pit seven years after Mrs. Arroyo took over. Women want her out now!”
 
Maza also said that even recent government data, where 27.6 M Filipinos suffer from poverty belies the economic growth that Mrs. Arroyo boasts to have brought this country to. “While GDP growth averaged 5.4% in 2003-2006, the number of poor Filipinos increased by 3.8 million. Around 70%-80% of Filipinos live off around P100 or less every day. Filipino women and our families have become jobless, landless and homeless while the First family swims in the muck of greed, lies and scandals.”
 
Rep. Ilagan meanwhile said that the recent $130B and the $70B kickbacks from the ZTE and Southrail projects alone are enough to build over 100,000 homes, ensure the college scholarships of more than 14,000 college students and build 300,000 classrooms. Even the bribes distributed in Malacanang last year could ensure decent living for 200 families for one year, with the daily cost of living pegged at P670 per day.
 

“The shameless chain scandals, anomalous contracts, lies and bribes just don’t stop. As these continue more and more Filipino women will rush to the streets, not just today, women’s day but on succeeding protest actions for a change in leadership and governance.”

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