Category Archives: Corruption

IMPEACHMENT, PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY WILL HELP COUNTRY SURVIVE FINANCIAL CRISIS

“The absence of public accountability in the midst of billion-peso anomalous deals, the impunity with which human rights violations are committed and the penchant for tyranny is never good for the economy, it is never good for our country.”

Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza as she today joined petitioners in the filing of new impeachment complaint against Arroyo. The lawmaker was responding to claims that filing of a new impeachment complaint was mere politicking in the midst of a global financial crunch. “On the contrary, this new impeachment complaint is a necessary democratic process that will help our country survive the global financial crisis.”

According to Maza, “Those guilty of corruption and the plunder of government funds need to be held accountable. Without transparency and without accountability, the Arroyo government cannot expect to efficiently lead and enjoy the confidence of the people most affected by the crisis—the poor—as well as the business sector.”

“Furthermore, President Arroyo cannot expect to continue to implement the VAT and collect more taxes from the ordinary Filipinos amid the foreseen inflation and joblessness when her administration cannot account for how government funds are actually spent.”

Gabriela Women’s Party, along with other progressive partylists Bayan Muna and Anakpawis will be endorsing the complaint that will be filed by ZTE whistleblower Joey De Venecia and lawyer Harry Roque. “Year after year, we have filed and endorsed impeachment complaints against President Arroyo. There is no reason to stop filing these complaints as none of the issues that have been previously raised were resolved.”

“President Arroyo’s legitimacy remains in question. Allegations of corruption against President Arroyo and her family in multi-million anomalous contracts and government funds from the Macapagal Boulevard to the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani and down to the NBN-ZTE deals remain unresolved. The killings, abductions and disappearances continue,” explained Maza.

Aside from the impunity with which human rights violations are committed under her regime, the impeachment complaint holds President Arroyo culpable for betrayal of public trust for the Northrail rehabilitation project, bribery in the ZTE-NBN deal; and graft and corruption for her administration’s involvement in various irregularities including the P728 million fertilizer scam, P2 billion swine scam and alleged ballot-switching in the 2004 presidential election.#

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P897M IN QUESTIONABLE DA FUNDS RELEASED AT IMPEACHMENT PEAK -MAZA

Gabriela Womens Party Representative Liza Maza yesterday sought clarification from Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on the Department on Budget and Management’s fund releases amounting to P897M which was awarded to the Department of Agriculture at the height of the deliberation of the impeachment case filed against President Arroyo.

“There may be something fishy going on here. It is highly suspicious that Department of Agriculture received fund allocations which were not part of the budget originally approved by Congress for the department in the GAA,” said Maza

Maza noted the following fund releases in the 2007 Commission on Audit report on the Department of Agriculture:

•    70M released last November 12, 2007 for the Barangay Food Terminal and Bagsakan Center Project.
•    800M released last November 19, 2007 for the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program. This fund release did not entail any request from the DA and was automatically transferred to Regional Field Units.
•    27.5M released last November 19, 2007, for the Operational requirements of the Agno River Integrated Project. This was released despite the absence of any fund requests from the DA.

The P897M is but part of a total of P4.3B questionable fund releases from February to December 2007 uncovered by the COA.

The Gabriela solon recalls that the House of Representatives rejected supplemental impeachment complaints meant to add substance to the sham complaint filed by lawyer Ruel Pulido last November 7, 2007. The Committee on Justice dismissed the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo last November 14, 2007 while the plenary voted to reject the same complaint by affirming the Committee report in the plenary on November 26, 2007. “It can also be recalled that it was during this period that cash gifts were reportedly handed out left and right in Malacanang breakfast meetings and LGU consultations.”

“The COA has noted that there was no way for them to validate the actual applications of the fund allocations due to the absence of detailed activities and reports on the project outputs. The DA needs to clarify these fund allocations and report in detail on the regions and provinces where they have been allocated and who actually benefited from these projects. We need to know whether these funds have indeed been used for its supposed purpose.” #

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KATAS NG VAT NI GLORIA: Kukurakot Aabuso Tiba-tiba si Arroyo Sa VAT

Pahayag ni Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Maza
SONA ng Mamamayan, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City
Hulyo 28, 2008

Mainit na pagbati sa bawat isa sa ating tumitindig at nagpapahayag ng tunay na kalagayan ng mamamayan, ng tunay na SONA. Ang pagbuhos natin sa lansangan sa araw na ito hindi lamang sa Maynila kundi sa mga probinsya ay patunay lamang na isinusuka natin ang mala-pantaseryeng drowing ng kaunlaran ng peke, korap at abusadong lider ng sindikatong nasa Malakanyang, si Gng. Arroyo.

Sabi ni Gng. Arroyo, “Ramdam ang Kaunlaran”. Ang totoo, ramdam ng mga nanay at kababaihan ang kirot ng sikmura sa bawat pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihing pinatawan ng VAT. Ang totoo, ramdam na ramdam natin ang init ng araw, at buhos ng ulan habang parang timawa tayong pinapipila sa mga limos na subsidyo sa kuryente’t bigas. Sabi ni Gloria, magpasalamat kayo, ito raw ay “Katas ng VAT”.

Pawang panloloko! Alam ba ninyo kung ano ang totoong ibig sabihin ng KATAS ng VAT?  Kukurakot, Aabuso, Tiba-tiba si Arroyo Sa VAT. Kaya sa kabila ng malwakang panawagan ng mamamayan para ibasura ang 12% VAT na ipinapataw sa lahat ng ating mga bilihin at binabayaran, ayaw itong alisin ni Gloria. Malaki ang pakinabang niya sa Katas ng VAT. Kukurakot Aabuso Tiba-tiba si Arroyo Sa VAT.

Nitong nakaraang buwan naglaan daw si Gloria ng P4B Katas ng VAT para sa subsidyo sa mga tsuper, sa mga senior citizen, sa mga pautang at sa mga biktima ng bagyong Frank. Dapat ba nating ipagpasalamat yun? Alam ba ninyong mula nang masimulan ang maanomalyang Northrail project ay may binabayaran tayong P18M kada buwan? Walang proyektong nagaganap, pero may mga kickback at panunuhol na matagal nang naganap. Saan galing ang pinambabayad sa proyektong ito? Katas ng VAT.

Samantala’y, tuloy na tuloy pa rin daw ang Cyber Education Project. Hindi natin ito kailangan. Pero, ang halagang inutang para dito? P20B. Limang beses na mas mataas sa P4B inilaan daw sa maralita. Sino ba ang makikinabang? Kani-kaninong mga bulsa ba ang nag-uumapaw dahil sa mga proyektong ODA ni Gng Arroyo na bumubuo sa mahigit 40% sa mga utang panlabas ng ating bansa? At sinong magbabayad nito? Sabi nga ni Gng. Arroyo, Katas ng VAT. Kukurakot Aabuso Tiba-tiba si Arroyo Sa VAT.

Magnanakaw! Sa bawat pisong dagdag sa presyo ng bilihin dahil sa VAT iisa lang ang nakikinabang sa Katas nito. Wala na ngang maibadyet ang mga kababaihan, ang ating mga pamilya’y walang na ngang makain, pamasahe, maipampa-aral o maipang-ospital, pinahihirapan, pinagnanakawan niloloko pa tayo ng sindikato ni Gng. Arroyo. Papayag pa ba tayo? Tama na, sobra na! Gloria Arroyo, paalisin na natin, ngayon na! #

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NORTHRAIL PROJECT IS A BURDEN TO THE PEOPLE -MAZA

Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza today called for the immediate termination of the Northrail contract saying that the issues now being raised by the China National Machinery and Equipment Corp. Group (CNMEG), as well as price adjustments amounting to over US$ 299M corroborate allegations of bribes and anomalies that have hounded the US$ 503M Northrail Project.

According to the Gabriela solon, “The termination of the Northrail contract and the prosecution of those involved are long overdue. The Arroyo government has already wasted millions in taxpayers’ money and should not be given the opportunity to waste even more.”

Reports reveal that since January 2005, it has reportedly been paying about $400,000 in monthly interest. The government has allegedly drawn USD$105 M of the loan in 2004. Moreover, with the price adjustments, the total cost of the project would now amount to at least US$ 802M. “Why the government insists on carrying on with the project despite its already huge and rising cost is in itself dubious and questionable,” Maza further said.

The Northrail Project, a deal financed by a disadvantageous loan of around US$ 503M from the Export-Import Bank of China and awarded to Chinese contractors, was overpriced and allegedly involved some US$ 50-100 M in commissions and kickbacks to high-ranking government officials. “These allegations that surrounded the Northrail project from the very beginning have yet to be resolved.”

“This project is a burden to the people. The $400,000 monthly interest that the government is now compelled to pay can be used for subsidies and other projects for the poor and marginalized. Terminate this project now so we can be spared from the burden of paying for the kickbacks and anomalies that have long surrounded this project.” said Maza.

“Moreover, we believe that the reason why the Arroyo government insists on collecting the 12% VAT, is because of its commitment to pay these overpriced and anomalous ODA loans such as the Northrail project.”

Research conducted by the partylist group meanwhile reveal that US $50-100 M commissions from the Northrail project could have produced 4,000 classrooms or 3,636 houses or it could have treated 2,000 women with breast cancer at P1M per treatment.#

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GABRIELA, GSIS FUND OWNERS DENOUNCE MALACANANG-GARCIA BID FOR MERALCO TAKEOVER

Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza today joined government employees in denouncing the use of GSIS assets in the Malacanang-led bid to takeover Meralco.

“Malacanang should stop pitting government employees’ funds for this apparent financial crackdown on business and media institutions that refuse to toe her line,” said Maza.

Maza fears transferring the Meralco management from the Lopezes to the Malacanang-Garcia conspiracy is like putting electricity consumers from the frying pan to the fire.

According to the Gabriela solon, GSIS President Winston Garcia is the last person who can speak for the interests of government employees, having repeatedly gambled government employees’ money into various
speculative investments without consultation, while ignoring appeals for efficiency and transparency in the delivery of services. “Instead of utilizing GSIS funds in this crackdown, it should instead be maximized for the increase of dividends, the delivery of retirement and pension benefits for government employees.”

Last year, Gabriela Women’s Party filed a House Resolution 333 last year to look into the GSIS “global fund management program” allowing foreign investments firms and private international fund managers to handle GSIS members’ funds.

The Gabriela solon further said, “The Garcia-led GSIS has been plagued with complaints of non-remittance of benefits and pensions; of a top-heavy, over-compensated management and; of entering into unwise
investments to the detriment of government employees. With this track record, can we trust them with the management of a public utility?”

Maza said the public’s demands for lower electricity rates can easily be achieved by the suspension of the Value Added Tax and the repeal of the EPIRA. “Malacanang’ s adamant refusal to rid basic services and
utilities of the VAT betrays its real intent in attacking Meralco. Malacanang is not out to reduce power rates, it is out to claim more power by attacking its critics.” #

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Filed under Corruption, Govt Employees, News Release, Political Repression, Utilities

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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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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