Arroyo ‘never bribes’–Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo “never bribes anybody,” Malacañang said Monday, as it dismissed as “sour-graping” the testimony earlier in the day by Pangasinan Representative Jose de Venecia Jr. before a congressional committee hearing an impeachment complaint against her.
Deputy Presidential Spokesman Anthony Golez said De Venecia, a former staunch ally of the President, was still “hurting” from his removal as Speaker in February.
De Venecia claimed before the House committee on justice that the Palace bribed lawmakers, including himself, with P500,000 to support the weak impeachment complaint against the President in 2007, which was eventually dismissed.
He also said that First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo prodded the President to approve Chinese firm ZTE Corp.’s bid for the national broadband network (NBN) project.
“The President never bribes anybody,” Golez said in a statement.
“Impeachment is a political process and JDV’s [De Venecia’s] statements were mere political sentiments which serve personal political interests,” he said.
“We recognize the congressman’s sour-graping and we can see that he is still hurting over his ouster as House Speaker by the vast majority of his colleagues for the loss of trust and confidence as their leader,” he added.
De Venecia was ousted as Speaker after his son, Jose III, said Mr. Arroyo told him to “back off” from his company’s bid for the NBN project. He also accused former elections commissioner Benjamin Abalos of trying to bribe him.
The young De Venecia, along with anti-Arroyo forces, lodged the impeachment complaint at the House.
Impeachment charges have been filed against Arroyo every year since 2005, over allegations of corruption and election fraud, but would always end up being dismissed by the pro-administration majority.
During the hearing on Monday, De Venecia showed a picture of the First Couple at the ZTE golf course and said that “pictures don’t lie.”
Asked about the picture, Golez said, “Pictures can also say a million things. That’s why they usually undergo a process before appreciation in the courts.”
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