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Palace backs First Gentleman vs critics

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:16:00 01/27/2009

Filed Under: Congress, Graft & Corruption

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo’s critics should come up with something more than “indirect implications” to link him to alleged corruption in government, a spokesman for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Tuesday.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza issued the statement after Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned Mr. Arroyo’s links with Eduardo de Luna, president of E.C. De Luna Construction, one of the firms blacklisted by the World Bank for alleged corruption.

Mr. Arroyo’s lawyer also came to his defense, saying his client “does not interfere and will never interfere” in government transactions.

“We hope people who unduly malign the First Gentleman come up with something more than indirect implications. The First Gentleman, just like any other private citizen, deserves fair treatment,” Dureza told a news conference at the Palace.

“They have been dragging the name of the First Gentleman many times over in the past but up to now, there is no iota of evidence that had been brought to court,” he said.

Mr. Arroyo’s lawyer, Ruy Rundain, told reporters in Malacañang: “As we have been saying right from the start, the First Gentleman does not interfere and will never interfere in government matters and transactions.”

The First Gentleman wants to devote his time to charity work and “it is his sincere hope that he be left alone in these endeavors,” Rondain added.

This is not the first time Mr. Arroyo has been accused of trying to interfere in a government contract.

He was earlier linked to the alleged bribery and overpricing surrounding the botched $329-million national broadband network project with China’s ZTE Corp.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

Written by joelguinto

TueUTC2009-01-27T14:02:20+00:00UTC01bUTCTue, 27 Jan 2009 14:02:20 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm01

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