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Palace dismisses ex-Cabinet execs as ‘rumor mongers’

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 14:48:00 03/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang mocked former Cabinet officials who expressed “loss of confidence” in President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, saying the “Ex-Men’ had been reduced to “rumor mongers.”

“The statement of the ‘Ex-Men’ is irresponsible and sweeping,” deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said in a statement on Thursday. “It is easy to point a finger, but where is the proof?”

Having held positions in government, Fajardo said the former officials should have known that allegations not backed by evidence are mere “loose talk.”

“From respected government officials, now they have simply become rumor mongers. What a sad turn of events,” Fajardo said.

The Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO), as the group calls itself, said earlier in the day that Arroyo has lost the “ability to govern” amid allegations of massive corruption against her administration, the latest of which are the purported kickbacks that supposedly accompanied the scrapped $329-million national broadband network (NBN) deal with Chinese firm ZTE Corp.

Arroyo herself, her husband Jose Miguel, and former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr., have been implicated to the alleged kickbacks.

The former officials have submitted five demands for the President, including allowing former socioeconomic planning secretary Romulo Neri to testify before the Senate inquiry into the NBN scandal.

But Fajardo said the FSGO was “barking at the wrong tree.”

She said Neri would have testified had the Senate accepted a compromise deal offered by the Supreme Court.

That compromise, related to a petition Neri filed against an order for his arrest from the Senate for failing to heed summons to testify at the NBN inquiry, would have prevented senators from asking the former socioeconomic planning secretary questions about Arroyo’s reaction when he told her of an alleged P200-million bribe offer from Abalos to endorse the NBN contract.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2008-03-13T07:01:29+00:00UTC03bUTCThu, 13 Mar 2008 07:01:29 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

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