Press Release
October 12, 2007

Amid New Palace Bribe Scandal...

Senate Majority Leader Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan today criticized the Palace's latest attempt to shield President Gloria Arroyo from fresh charges of bribery and corruption involving nearly the entire membership of the House of Representatives.

"If the allegations are true, then public accountability in the country has reached its lowest levels since the restoration of democracy some 20 years ago," said Kiko.

Amid a looming impeachment complaint against the President, around 190 solons from the Lower House were reportedly given envelopes containing cash amounting from P200,000 to P500,000 after a breakfast meeting with the President yesterday at the Malacañang Palace. The money purportedly served as send off gifts for the lawmakers as they were about to take their break.

Kiko urged the Administration solons to shed light on the latest bribery issue involving no less than the President, lamenting that "As public servants, they should never forget that their obligation to the people supersedes their obligation to the President, even if she is their boss, even if she has promised them heaven on earth."

"I hope there are brave souls out there who will be willing to risk their necks, speak out and shed light to the truth behind this very disturbing news report. It is only when we as a people say enough is enough will we achieve meaningful political reforms in our lifetime," said Kiko.

Paraphrasing the words of US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis, he urged the Palace allies who attended the breakfast meeting to "risk position, criticism and misunderstandings that so often come when people do the right thing."

"In the end, we as public servants are going to be judged not just by what we have done, but more importantly, by what we have failed to do. The true essence of public service is the ability to sacrifice private interest for public gain. Our ultimate allegiance, therefore, should lie with the truth and the people."

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