Press Release
February 22, 2008


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today advised Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Romulo Neri to follow the politics of truth by not allowing himself to be a party to the coverup of venalities in government and by not clinging to his position under an administration which has lost the trust and support of the people.

Pimentel criticized Neri over his appeal to political leaders to declare a one-year of "social peace" to spare President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from public fury over her misrule and abuse of power.

"Instead of lecturing political leaders on what to do, Secretary Neri should try the politics of truth starting with himself and his chief puppeteer in Malacañang," he said.

The opposition stalwart said nobody in his right mind will take Neri's misplaced advice seriously and he has no business giving such advice after he had said (according to his friend Rodolfo Lozada, Jr.) that Mrs. Arroyo is "evil" and has lost her moral right to lead the nation.

Pimentel said Neri should have resigned from the Arroyo Cabinet a long time ago. In the first place, he said Neri is not qualified to head the CHED to which he was transferred after being yanked out by the President as director general of the National Economic and Development Authority in July, 2007 in the wake of the national broadband scandal.

He said Neri's subordinate officials at the CHED themselves are the ones saying that his appointment is illegal since he lacks a doctorate in education which is required of the chairman and commissioners of the Commission under the CHED charter.

Pimentel said the only honorable course of action left for Neri to redeem his name is to resign and follow in the footsteps of Lozada. However, he said Neri should stop making frivolous demands from forces seeking a change in the national leadership, such as the putting up of a so-called patriotic fund for administration officials who will break away from the President.

"The only saving grace of Neri is Lozada because Lozada is telling the truth while he is telling half-truths. So really Neri has no business staying there," he said.

Pimentel expressed chagrin over reports about Neri's espousal of a patriotic fund and Lozada suggesting that people should contribute to the fund to help Neri get out of the service of an evil empire.

"I don't think that's necessary for anyone to do. That would be tantamount to a golden parachute that Neri wants to have," the minority leader said.

He said he does not think that the public should be made to pay for a patriotic fund to bail Neri out of his personal difficulties.

On Neri's allegation that Lozada was mentally tortured by the senators during his Senate appearance, Pimentel said: "On the contrary, Lozada said he's not afraid of the senators. He said so during the investigation."

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