Phillipines: Lawmakers take European "vacation" with President Arroyo

It seems that supporting Arroyo brings with it many perks including foreign vacations for the whole family. The senate can huff and puff all it wants but it seems unable to bring Arroyo down! Malacanang is the "castle" equivalent to the WHite HOuse in the US I suppose.

Solons in GMA trip hatching plot to oust JdV — source


Following Speaker Jose de Venecia’s admission that he did not authorize 34 lawmakers, their spouses and friends to go an all-expense paid trip to Europe with President Arroyo, a move to oust him from his Post is allegedly being hatched.

Sources in Malacanang yesterday told the Tribune that part of the agenda of the congressmen who accompanied the President in her European trip is to unseat the Speaker, an estranged ally of Mrs. Arroyo.

“The congressmen are all members of the President’s party Kampi (Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino) and De Venecia’s ouster has been hatched,” the source said.

The source, however, failed to give further details on whether the group being led by Rep. Jose Solis has the required numbers to effect a coup in the House.

During a chance interview in his weekly press briefing, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, however, washed hands over the issue, saying Mrs. Arroyo does not intervene in the internal affairs of the House.

“The President, definitely, will not meddle. We leave this matter on the hands of the members of the House,” he said.

Ermita also said it is up to lawyer Roel Pulido to appeal his complaint against De Venecia before the House ethics committee, which junked the complaint on the basis that the acts were committed during past Congresses.

Pulido had accused De Venecia of conflict of interest when he granted a congressional franchise to a telecommunications company owned by his son years ago.

For his part, opposition Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said any plot by the Kampi party to oust De Venecia is doomed to fail.

“It would not succeed because we in the opposition would not support it. The opposition’s drive is to move forward, not backward. Any attempt to rock the boat at this time is doomed to fail since it would create instability instead of a stable, working and efficient House of Representatives,” he said.

“It had cost us before an atleast three months to reorganize committee leaderships. Important legislations that needed to be pass in the House would be again be stagnant, like the cheaper medicine bill which is needed to be passed in time. So its uncalled for (De Venecia’s ouster), it’s a setback to the legislation processes, the committee hearings and other jobs for us to do. Our appeal to Kampi members is that they should forget politics and let’s get to work,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang distanced itself over the Senate’s plan to investigate the 34 congressmen who accompanied Mrs. Arroyo in her European tour.

Ermita also denied allegations that Mrs. Arroyo bankrolled the trip.

“Definitely they spent for themselves. It’s very obvious that the Palace has nothing to do with it, considering the fact that they took with them their families. It’s also unfair for our critics to say that these congressmen had traveled with our President as a form of a payback (for killing the latest impeachment complaint against the President),” he said.

Ermita also expressed confidence that the 34 congressmen would be able to defend themselves on the issue that the Speaker did not authorize them to take the trip.

“It’s up to Speaker De Venecia. Malacañang should not be dragged into this, on whether they have permission or not. Congress is a separate arm from the executive. It’s not appropriate for the executive branch to comment on whether we agree or disagree to the junket probe (being mulled by the Senate),” he said. Sherwin C. Olaes


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