What's the holdup?
MANILA: A senior official of the Philippines’ interior department was present when congressmen and local officials allegedly received bribes to ensure their loyalty for scandal-tainted President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a governor said yesterday.While I have no trouble believing these bribes took place, Governor Mendoza saying he has a witness doesn't prove anything yet. Not unless Panadero steps forward. Which he's liable not to do, because of the implications to his career.
Arroyo has already ordered a probe into the controversial incident, which allegedly took place after she met with congressmen and governors on October 11 at the Malacanang presidential palace.
The Arroyo administration has denied any involvement in the cash-giving that government critics said was aimed at buying off the support of congressmen and local officials amid a feud between Arroyo and long-time ally House of Representatives Speaker Jose De Venecia.
The alleged bribery happened as the House of Representatives was to tackle an impeachment complaint against Arroyo, the third in three years. The first two complaints were junked by Arroyo’s allies in the House, led by De Venecia.
Bulacan province Governor Joselito Mendoza, who admitted receiving P500,000 ($11,300) after the meeting with Arroyo, said Interior Undersecretary Austere Panadero was present when a female staff member gave him the money.
“Undersecretary Panadero was there,” Mendoza, a member of Arroyo’s political party, said. “I think he knew where the money came from.”
Panadero is a subordinate of Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, chairman of Arroyo’s Kampi political party.
There was no immediate reaction from Panadero or Puno.
Mendoza added that aside from Panadero, another governor from a southern province was also present when the money was handed to him.
Two other governors, including a former priest, and at least two congressmen have admitted receiving cash gifts after the Malacanang meeting. The officials could not identify the persons who gave them the money, contained in a brown paper bag.
The current impeachment complaint against Arroyo stems from accusations by De Venecia’s son that Arroyo’s husband and close ally, resigned elections chief Benjamin Abalos, brokered a deal with Chinese firm ZTE Corp that was disadvantageous to the government.
Philippine politics never changes. As my wife so often says, same dog different collar.
Note- The above photo of Philippine President Arroyo was taken while she was viewing security at Manila International Airport. Did her presence cause flight delays? It did last November when my wife was returning from a trip to Tacloban. Dear wife missing her connection in Los Angeles.
As Khrushchev might have said. Politicians are the same every where. They only think of themselves.
Linked to- High Desert Wanderer, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Outside the Beltway,