Monday, February 20, 2006

De-Venecia's "Congressional Medal of Achievement" a scam

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran **

Reference*: Rep. Crispin Beltran

Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006

*Tel*. *# (+632) *931-6615 *Email*:


News Release February 20, 2006

*De-Venecia's "Congressional Medal of Achievement" a scam, Anakpawis solons

*House Speaker's initiative is an appropriation of pro-poor legislation for
dubious purposes*

Anakpawis Representatives Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano expressed
"outrage at the monkey business going on inside the Lower House with reports
of fake Congressional medals being handed out using the name of pro-poor

The Anakpawis solons were reacting to revelations by former Senator Kit
Tatad this weekend that House Speaker Jose de Venecia has been giving out
fake "congressional awards" to visiting heads of state and high officials
from other countries for the past two years, including President Musharraf
of Pakistan, President Kalam of India, Secretary-General Anders Jonson of
the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), IPU President Sergio Paez of Chile, and
former Prime Minister Aznar of Spain. Inquirer columnist Neal Cruz revealed
this in his column today.

However, the citation on the "Congressional Medal of Achievement", solely
signed by de Venecia reportedly states that "this Award is bestowed on
behalf of the Filipino nation and in accordance with Resolution (HR) No. 453
of the House of Representatives, Congress of the Philippines".

This HR No. 453, partly authored by Reps. Beltran and Mariano, is entitled
"Resolution Directing the Committees on Labor and Employment and Foreign
Affairs to conduct a joint congressional inquiry on the status of
implementation of the government's ban on deployment of overseas Filipino
workers to Iraq and to look into the alleged neglect of duty of officials of
the Department of Labor and Employment and Foreign Affairs tasked to
implement the said ban".

"We have no problems with the House Speaker handing out awards like candies
to other heads of state. Our problem is the obviously anomalous origins of
this Congressional Medal of Achievement. As evident from the title of the HR
itself, this piece of pro-poor legislation has absolutely nothing to do with
any award-giving initiative. The HR No. 453, in fact, has been pending at
the Committee on Labor and Employment since February 2, 2005," Rep. Beltran

"We refuse to accept that this anomalous citation may be due to a
typographical error or oversight. An erroneous citation is at the very
least, the sign of uncritical haste in which the measure was approved. The
conspicuous absence of the concurrence of Senate President Franklin Drilon's
signature on the citation is also an ominous sign of de Venecia's unilateral
approval of such an award," Beltan added.

"If HR No. 453 is indeed the House Resolution mentioned in the citation,
then Speaker de Venecia has certainly a lot of explaining to do. Why is he
giving out fake and unilaterally-approved awards to foreign legislators, and
citing as a basis for this a House Resolution that has absolutely nothing to
do with the nature of such an award? It is an anomalous and deceitful act,
to say the very least," Beltran said.

"We condemn how the House leadership is apparently ignoring and
appropriating pro-people legislation such as the HR No. 453 for its own
dubious interests. While anomalous initiatives such as this fake
'Congressional Medal of Achievement' and the maneuverings to railroad Pres.
Arroyo's Charter Change are being implemented left and right, pro-poor
legislation is continually being stifled, suppressed, and killed in the
Lower House. We call on the House Speaker to explain this dubious award, and
be held accountable for this," Beltran and Mariano ended. ###


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