Press Release
March 10, 2008


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today expressed outrage over the frivolous and wasteful spending of taxpayers' money for political advertisements in national dailies especially by local government officials ostensibly to manifest their support for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo amid widespread calls for her resignation.

Pimentel decried that Malacañang is taking advantage of the submissive attitude of local government officials and their vulnerability to pressure by using them in its desperate bid to create a false impression that the President still enjoys the support of the Filipino people.

He was reacting to the series of full-page newspaper advertisements appearing since last week in which the local officials supposedly reaffirmed their support and loyalty to the President and defended her from calls for her resignation or ouster in the wake of the anomalous national broadband project and other scandals hounding her administration.

Considering that a full-page newspaper advertisement is very expensive, Pimentel said it would imprudent, or even tantamount to criminal offense, for any LGU to spend hard-earned taxpayers' money for such undertaking.

"Local government units have the right to express support for anyone. But it's a crime to splurge funds for full-page newspaper advertisements in national newspapers just to flatter Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo," he said.

Noting that some of the newspaper ads containing resolutions or manifestos of support were supposedly paid for by certain Municipal and Provincial governments, Pimentel said it sounded incredulous that they would shoulder the cost of the ads out of their own coffers at the expense of essential services or projects that are badly needed by their constituents.

Pimentel said the cost of a full-page advertisement in a national daily ranges from P150,000 to P200,000 which is enough to build a modest elementary classroom, a barangay reading center or a rural health clinic.

Considering that the average LGUs could ill afford to pay for the cost of such advertisement, he said there is a good reason to believe that Malacañang itself is behind this project by using the unlimited propaganda funds at the disposal of the President.

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