When there’s Smoke, There’s Fire

23 10 2007

Student Council Alliance of the Philippines sympathizes with all the families who lost their loved ones in that fateful tragedy, this is but another attack on our national security. While we don’t wish to speculate, we condemn in the strongest possible terms, the group behind this appalling event. That is, whether it’d be forces from the right or the left.

Unfortunately, while Filipinos grieve and mourn for this mishap, SCAP wishes to remind our brethren that all is not lost in the fight against terror, bribery and corruption. The country has suffered long enough from our unstable political situation. Yet we are faced with more and more challenges as a people and our bureaucracy is continuously confronted with scandals that weaken our system.

We thought that bribery in government business deals is already worse, but when Gov. Ed Panlilio and Gov. Mendoza disclosed receiving money allegedly from the palace, the ZTE seemed a lesser evil. Bribing local officials in the very area of Malacañang is by far, the most disgusting news we heard after the ZTE.

 

Officials and GMA herself cannot keep their silence for so long. The news broke out and there’s no hiding the grave malpractice anymore. The Presidential Anti-Graft Commission has already admitted that their hands are tied, and they can only seek cooperation from the LGU Officials, but if the latter refuses to participate, the former cannot insist on pursuing a probe.

The Palace can also filter PAGC’s report on the alleged bribery. So what good can that bring when the president herself needs to be investigated?

 

SCAP calls on to the ombudsman to investigate officials like DENR Sec. Lito Atienza who admitted that he had received cash gifts for nine years while he was still a Mayor in Manila. He was very quick to defend GMA, saying that there’s nothing wrong if local executives receive money as gifts for Christmas, or any other occasion for as long as it was not intended as a bribe.

SCAP defies such statements and advises government officials to review P. D. 46 of 1972 which punishes public officials from receiving gifts which are of great value from private persons and R. A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

SCAP urges the public to be vigilant despite the recent misfortune that we have to go through. We challenge all local officials who were present in the recent Palace meeting to step up and reveal if they also have received similar cash gifts.

“I do not know how GMA can still deny the bribery issue, when a television network already aired a video of local executives walking out of the palace with the similar paper bag that Gov. Panlilio shown in his recent press conference. That paper bag allegedly contained the money,” SCAP Chairperson Mark Roy Boado stated.

“We sincerely hope that Malacañang won’t use the Glorietta bombing to cover up the bribery issue in its own grounds. It will be the most pathetic way of evading accountability. This administration cannot kill this news at the expense of the Glorietta victims,” Paula Bianca Lapuz, SCAP Secretary General quipped.

 

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