Sunday, September 18, 2005

NR0915:Expose private donors and their interest in funding foreign lobby for Cha cha

From the Office of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release September 16, 2005

Expose private donors funding multi-million dollar
Charter Change lobby; Governemnt keeping Cha cha
contract an act of treason

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said
that National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales’
explanation that the funding for the Philippine
government’s charter change lobby comes from private
donors does not mitigate or excuse the treasonous
nature of the agreement the government forged with the
US-bade lobby group Venable LLP.

“Gonzales is being thick-headed, as usual. This is
not just a matter of funding. There are more serious
issues concerned in this contract. The fact that the
Macapagal-Arroyo government chose to keep this
contract under wraps and to refuse revealing who these
mysterious private donors are only fuels more
speculations and doubts,” he said.

“Even the work and tasks of Venable for the Cha cha
lobby have been kept secret. Philippine lawmakers
don’t even know the specific amendments the national
government wants done on the Constitution, but now
it’s being exposed that the Venable people know and
they’re being paid millions of dollars to gather
support for these amendments,” he said. “This is

“Gonzales should begin to name names as to who these
private donors are, and what it is in it for them to
shell out such massive amounts of money to support the
government’s demented charter change agenda.
There’s no doubt that these private donors, if they
really exist, expect to get very concrete gains from
their investment in the cha cha lobby; otherwise, they
wouldn’t have been so cavalier about investing in
it,” he said.

The veteran labor leader hazarded a guess that these
private donors belong to the local big business groups
in the country who have long-established dealings and
contracts with foreign multinationals and
transnationals who want to expand their businesses in
the Philippines but are hindered by the remaining
protectionist provisions in the 1987 Constitution.

“These donors, whoever they are, should be exposed
and their interest in charter change revealed,” he

“In whatever case, the leadership in the House of
Representatives should drop all discussions on charter
change and instead focus on the controversial contract
between the Philippine government and Venable which is
costing the country $900,000 for 12 months. He also
said that investigations into the Arroyo
administration’s splurging on foreign PR groups and
research outfits are also in order.

“What we have here is a government with no
compunction against spending millions of taxpayers’
funds for public relations. Talk about severely
twisted priorities,” he said. “The charter change
agenda is clearly a comprehensive plot to amend the
highest law of the land and make it serve the business
and political interests of its proponents. This is all
being kept secret from the Filipino people because of
the treacherous nature of the proposals for amendments
which are certain to wrought even greater destruction
in the national economy and the welfare of the poor
and working people,” he said.#


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