Press Release
February 4, 2009


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should explain first to Filipinos the World Bank corruption report in government infrastructure projects and its impact on the country before rushing to Washington D.C. to attend a social function with US President Barack Obama, Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas said today.

"Mahalagang malaman natin agad ang katotohanan. Pero mas mahalaga kay Gloria ang makipag-sosyalan sa mga 'Kano (It's important for us Filipinos to know the truth immediately. But what's important to Gloria is to hobnob with Americans)," he said.

"Ano ba naman itong si Gloria? Dapat ay inuna niya ang pagpapaliwanag kung totoo ba o hindi na nangotong ang asawa niya sa World Bank projects. (Look at GMA. She should have first explained if it is true or not that her husband extorted money from World Bank projects)," he stressed

Arroyo flew to Washington D.C. from Bahrain to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual assembly of political, social and business leaders of the world held every first Thursday of February at the Washington Hilton.

The Ilonggo senator said Arroyo should have first resolved the corruption issue raised by the World Bank before hobnobbing with American officials, whom he said are very much aware of the corruption issues hounding the administration.

WB recently decided to ban seven companies - three from the Philippines and four from China - from participating in any of its funded infrastructure projects in the Philippines after it discovered that the firms engaged in collusive practices in the bidding of a project implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DWPH).

"Walang ginawa si Gloria para alamin ang totoo. Ipinadala nga sa Ombudsman pero hindi naman inudyok si Merceditas na aksyunan ito agad. Tapos haharap siya sa mga opisyales ng Amerika. Hindi ba siya nahihiya? (She did nothing to find the truth out. She just referred it to the Ombudsman's office, but she did not even order Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to immediately act on it. Now she is in America facing officials who are aware of these WB findings. Isn't she ashamed?)" he asked.

Roxas said the President is wasting people's money in attending such social functions which are only opportunities for Arroyo to rub elbows with US leaders, when in fact there are a lot of problems that have to be solved in the country such as rampant corruption and the threat of increased poverty due to the ongoing financial tsunami.

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