GMA allies prepare counter exposés

BY WENDELL VIGILIA
MALAYA

SEN. Ramon Revilla Jr. has ordered Lakas-Kampi-CMD members to start retaliating at the Aquino administration which recently filed charges against its allies, Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo and Local Water Utilities Administration chairman Prospero Pichay.

Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said Revilla, party president, and former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo who gave the green light to “constructively criticize” the Aquino government in a meeting on Monday night with party leaders and members.

“We are a constructive minority at supportive kami, pero mukhang kahit anong gawin naming pagtulong, iniisa-isa (ng administrasyon) ang mga kasamahan namin. The marching order is to go nationwide on strengthening the party and go on (political) offensives. We will start to criticize what this administration is doing on the basis of facts,” Suarez said.

He also said opposition is preparing a series of exposés concerning three “damaging” issues against the administration.

He said these cover graft and corruption and ineptitude in governance but would not give details.

Suarez said House minority leader Edcel Lagman is already in the thick of preparations for congressional inquiries into the allegations.

“It’s damaging. We are calling for congressional inquiries. It sums up everything. Corruption is a serious case and inefficiency in the government. The exposé will be an eye opener and the administration should answer on these issues,” he said.

Revilla’s order came on the heels of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s P73.85-million tax evasion complaint against Mikey and his wife Angela Montenegro Arroyo and the Department of Finance’s criminal and administrative charges against Pichay over the alleged anomalous acquisition of a cash-strapped thrift bank, Express Savings Bank Inc. (EXSBI), that spelled losses to government amounting to P480 million.

The BIR said the Arroyos did not declare their true incomes for the years 2003 to 2009, totaling P73.85 million, despite their acquisition of numerous properties here and abroad.

Investigations showed the Arroyos bought real, personal and other properties worth several millions from 2004 to 2009, including houses in the US, in Lubao in Pampanga and at the La Vista subdivision in Quezon City, and motor vehicles, stock shares, jewelries, clothes and other personal effects as enumerated in Mikey’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth as of Dec. 31 of the years 2002 to 2009.

The order to hit back at the government was also made in the face of efforts of Malacañang and its House allies to force out Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez through an impeachment trial which will start May 9.

Mikey earlier said the administration is obviously engaging in “political harassment” to boost President Aquino’s sagging approval rating.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa denied President Aquino is at war with the Office of the Ombudsman, the Supreme Court and even Ang Galing ng Pinoy Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo despite remarks that he issued after cases had been lodged against Arroyo and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

“He is not at all combative It’s just part of his anti-corruption drive… He just wants to call everybody’s attention to his own views,” Ochoa said. – With Jocelyn Montemayor

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