Press Release
October 14, 2007


Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today told the League of Province it has no business telling the Senate how it should discharge its functions as he reminded local chief executives not to allow themselves to be manipulated by Malacañang in its current tug-of-war with the Senate which is looking into scandalous business deals that the Arroyo administration entered into with Chinese firms.

Pimentel assailed the published statement attributed to the League of Provinces asking the Senate to stop its investigation into the National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China's ZTE Corporation and the "Hello Garci" wiretapping scandal.

The statement, which came out after about 50 governors, together with some city and municipal mayors met with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Malacañang Thursday, also called for the dismissal of the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Roel Pulido against the President.

Pimentel said the League of Provinces, which is dominated by local chief executives fiercely loyal to the Palace, should know that the Senate, in pursuit its probe of these deals, only wants to uncover the truth and to ensure that the government and the Filipino people are not put at a disadvantage in these transactions that will ultimately be paid by taxpayers' money.

"My advice to the League of Provinces and the governors is to perform their own mandated task and not to intrude into matters that do not fall under their domain," the minority leader said.

"But on the part of the Senate, it is part of our obligation to look into the contracts that have been executed by our government, especially those that are funded by foreign loans."

Pimentel said the call of the League of Provinces for the termination of the Senate probe on the NBN-ZTE deal and the wiretapping controversy is highly suspicious because it came after the provincial governors met with the President.

He said the League has lost any moral authority to make such appeal in the face of the revelation by Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio that he was handed a brown paper bag by a Palace aide containing P500,000 in cash after the meeting. Because of the disclosure of Gov. Panlilio, a Catholic priest was presumed that other governors received the same amount of financial bonanza from the Palace.

Pimentel cautioned the local chief executives against allowing themselves to be unwittingly used by Malacañang for partisan and selfish ends at the expense of their independence and integrity as political leaders.

He said they should have learned from their costly mistake in the past when local government executives were manipulated by the Palace by making it appear that they, through the leagues of given provinces, cities and municipalities, were in full support of the administration-sponsored people's initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution to install a unicameral parliamentary system aimed at perpetuating President Arroyo in power.

The move to change the form of government through people's initiative fizzled out after the Supreme Court ruled that the process was unconstitutional. Also, public opinion surveys showed that the people were strongly against Charter Change because of the deceptive and illegal manner it was being pushed by the administration.

News Latest News Feed