The People Must Remind the President (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) of Her Obligation to Public Trust

16 March 2008 at 6:11 AM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

We are former senior government officials who from experience know that strong democratic institutions are crucial to our progress as a whole nation. The most important institution our people depend on is the Office of the President. The responsible exercise of Presidential power is an important instrument for serving our nation’s interests. A President that leads with righteousness and wisdom is a great blessing. A President that serves evil is a terrible curse. To secure a blessing and avoid a curse in the Presidency, the founding leaders of our democracy established a system of checks and balances.

The failure of checks and balances on the Presidency has allowed many past scandals to descend to a limbo of unresolved crimes against the public trust. Fertilizer scam. Election cheating. Shopping bags of cash in Malacanang. The NBN-ZTE scandal is just the latest monster in a larger pile of garbage from previous scandals. Our people are not going to let this one slip into the limbo again. Our search for truth, accountability and reforms must advance by getting our institutions to confront and resolve the corruption and cover up of this deal.

Our people have asked: Is President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo part of the NBN-ZTE corruption and cover up? She must act to help bring out the full truth about this deal if her hands are truly clean. The Arroyo Presidency must shelter the truth or it will be judged as a fortress for lies.

Our previous statement asked the President to take actions that were intended to demonstrate that indeed, like the people, she is against corruption and is angry at those engaged in it. Ordinary citizens can recognize the actions we asked of the President as reasonable under the present conditions: let the primary witness, Secretary Neri, testify without limitation; surrender all pertinent public documents on the deal to the Senate; follow usual administrative procedures by placing under preventive suspension those people under a cloud of doubt while an investigation is proceeding.

Since the President had already cancelled a deal that she judged tainted by corruption, these actions are logical and prudent. We demanded these actions not as an interest group but as a straightforward way for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to demonstrate that she is a blessing not a curse in the Office of the President. We got involved because we saw it as our civic duty to help start the repair and rehabilitation of our institutions already severely damaged from past scandals. By doing the actions we called for, the President would have shown her respect of the system of checks and balance of our democracy by cooperating fully with the Senate to give our people the full picture of the corruption and cover up of the NBN-ZTE deal.

Even as we issued our statement, however, the President’s spokepersons were summarily dismissing these demands. Later her advisers even criticized and threatened us for making these demands. The President is very poorly served by these spokespersons and advisers.

Revoking EO 464 does not serve the truth if Neri still invokes executive privilege and does not testify and, if, despite previous statements to the contrary, all records of the NBN-ZTE project have still not been submitted to the Senate. We believe the Supreme Court or the Senate must do their respective duties to serve the truth, but the President has a greater obligation. She has the greatest stake in the Senate investigation coming out with the truth or the people will conclude she hides behind lies and uses the power of her office to smother the truth.

We conclude that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo refuses to serve the people’s demand for truth about a matter of great public interest. We see in this refusal, despite ample chances and many sound reasons, a clear basis for our people to find her complicit with and, in fact, at the center of, the corruption and cover up of the NBN-ZTE deal.

We express our loss of confidence in her. As a consequence we question not only her moral authority to govern, but also her ability to govern given the mounting garbage of lies and obfuscation that she is constrained to build to cover up the increasing stench of corruption in her administration.

We ask those directly appointed by the President if they believe, in their heart of hearts, that they are keeping faith with their signed oath to defend and protect the nation’s Constitution and its laws in the face of blatant, shameless corruption and violation of individual rights.

We ask those in the civil service and foreign service to examine their conscience to
discern if their continued service in this Administration is not in fact helping prop up a regime that, at best abets large-scale corruption, lies and cover up, and at worst is a party to them.

We call on our fellow citizens to press their demand for a just resolution of governance issues and violation of the public trust raised against the President.

For our part, we pledge to use our combined knowledge, capabilities and influence to help as many of our people understand the issues and explain the known facts surrounding the many instances of corruption and encourage them to act in accordance with the dictates of their conscience.

We shall work with other sectors to put forward and apply other measures to make our other democratic institutions work better in preventing, exposing and punishing corruption at any level of our government starting at the very top.

Signed by:

Florencio Abad, former Secretary, Department of Education
Tomas Africa, former Administrator, National Statistics Office
Rafael Alunan III, former Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government
Roberto Ansaldo, former Undersecretary, Department of Agriculture
Senen Bacani, former Secretary, Department of Agriculture
Angelito Banayo, former Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs
Emilia Boncodin, former Secretary, Department of Budget and Management
Leonor Briones, former National Treasurer
Gerardo Bulatao, former Undersecretary, Department of Agrarian Reform
Clifford Burkley, former Undersecretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development
Sostenes Campillo, Jr., former Undersecretary, Department of Tourism
Isagani Cruz, former Undersecretary, Department of Education
Jose Cuisia, Jr., former Governor, Central Bank of the Philippines
Guillermo Cunanan, former General Manager, Manila International Airport Authority
Karina Constantino-David, former Chair, Civil Service Commission
Edgardo Del Fonso, former Undersecretary, Department of Finance
Teresita Quintos Deles, former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Benjamin Diokno, former Secretary, Department of Budget and Management
Quintin Doromal, former Commissioner, Presidential Commission on Good Government
Narcisa Escaler, former Ambassador to the United Nations
Evangeline Escobillo, former Commissioner, Insurance Commission
Jesus Estanislao, former Secretary, Department of Finance
Fulgencio Factoran, Jr., former Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Victoria Garchitorena, former Head, Presidential Management Staff
Ernesto Garilao, former Secretary, Department of Agrarian Reform
Jose Luis Gascon, former Undersecretary, Department of Education
Marietta Goco, former Chair, Presidential Commission to Fight Poverty
Cielito Habito, former Director-General, NEDA
Edilberto de Jesus, Jr., former Secretary, Department of Education
Philip Ella Juico, former Secretary, Department of Agrarian Reform
Lina Laigo, former Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development
Ernest Leung, former Secretary, Department of Finance
Josefina Lichauco, former Secretary, Department of Transportation and Communications
Narzalina Lim, former Secretary, Department of Tourism
Juan Miguel Luz, former Undersecretary, Department of Education
Felipe Medalla, former Director-General, NEDA
Jose Molano, Jr., former Executive Director, Commission on Filipinos Overseas
Vitaliano Nañagas, former Chair, Development Bank of the Philippines
Conrado Navarro, former Undersecretary, Department of Agrarian Reform
Norberto Nazareno, former President, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation
Imelda Nicolas, former Lead Convenor, National Anti-Poverty Commission
Victor Ordonez, former Undersecretary, Department of Education
Cayetano Paderanga, Jr., former Director-General, NEDA
Vicente Paterno, former Minister, Ministry of Trade
Felicito Payumo, former Chairman, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
Cesar Purisima, former Secretary, Department of Finance
Rolando Querubin, former Undersecretary, Department of Agrarian Reform
Albert del Rosario, former Ambassador to the United States
Francisco del Rosario, former Chair, Development Bank of the Philippines
Ramon del Rosario, Jr., former Secretary, Department of Finance
Victor Ramos, former Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Amina Rasul, former Presidential Adviser and Concurrent Chair on Youth Affairs
Rodolfo Reyes, former Press Secretary
Walfrido Reyes, former Undersecretary, Department of Tourism
Juan Santos, former Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry
Cesar Sarino, former Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government
Corazon Juliano-Soliman, former Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development
Hector Soliman, former Undersecretary, Department of Agrarian Reform
Mario Taguiwalo, former Undersecretary, Department of Health
Jaime Galvez Tan, former Secretary, Department of Health
Ricardo Tan, former President, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation
Wigberto Tañada, former Commissioner, Bureau of Customs
V. Bruce Tolentino, former Undersecretary, Department of Agriculture
Rene Villa, former Secretary, Department of Agrarian Reform
Veronica Villavicencio, former Lead Convenor, National Anti-Poverty Commission

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