Thursday, September 22, 2005

Nr0922:Gonzales protecting big names with his silence; charge him at the Ombudsman's

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran
News Release September 22, 2005

Security Adviser Gonzales protecting big, known names with his silence; should be charged at the Ombudsman

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that since National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales was deliberately being obtuse regarding queries into the controversial contract he and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo forged with the US-based lobby firm Venable LLP, he should be fired from his post and charged at the Office of the Ombudsman for abuse of authority and deliberate obfuscation of the truth behind the said contract and circumstances surrounding its negotiations.

“Gonzales is protecting some very big names, and this, most likely, is what is keeping him mum,” he said. “Quite possibly Gonzales has already been instructed by Malacanang as well as the secret backers and so-called ‘benefactors’ of the charter change lobby to keep his mouth shut, nevermind that he gets cited for contempt by the Senate.”

Beltran said that it was his hunch that the backers of the cha cha lobby were big names in the business community with close partnerships with foreign corporations. “Quite possibly there also ranking politicians with millions of money to spare just to ensure that their charter change agenda is pushed forward. This would narrow done the possibilities as to whom Gonzales is protecting with his silence.”

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that the Office of the Ombudsman led by Atty. Simeon Marcelo should be prepared to receive a hailstorm of charges against Gonzales. “Where else can Gonzales be compelled to speak? He has the temerity and stubbornness to refuse giving straight and definite answers to senators. This issue should go straight to the Ombudsman,” he said. “In the meantime, Gonzales should be immediately suspended from his post.”

Main accountability still rests with PGMA

“But it’s not just Gonzales who is privy to the information on the Venable deal. The president herself Mrs. Arroyo is clearly aware of who the main backers of charter change are. “The president has neither confirmed nor denied any knowledge regarding the Venable contract; but if she denies knowing anything about it, it would imply that she’s really letting underlings take action behind her back.”

“On the hand, if she admits knowledge, she should also be compelled to reveal the details surrounding the contract and its forging. After all, the contract was between her government and Venable, and the main responsibility of accounting for it still rests on her shoulders,” he concluded.#


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