PALACE  SCORES 'SCANDAL-MONGERS'  FROM  OPPOSITION

MANILA
, August 4, 2005
(STAR) Malacañang assailed "scandal-mongers" yesterday for attacking President Arroyo through the media and congressional hearings without submitting proof or evidence to back up their claims against the Chief Executive.

"There is obviously a concerted effort to throw dirt at the President, with a day-to-day smear plan," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said.

"She has submitted herself to the constitutional process through impeachment, which is actively being pursued in the House (of Representatives)," he said.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita called on the opposition and the President’s critics to present their witnesses in the proper forum.

"Let them come out with all their witnesses… They can come out with 10 witnesses but they should bring it before the proper forum. It is becoming very obvious that they are just muckraking, and want to throw mud at the President and destroy her image," Ermita said.

Both Palace officials noted the synchronized efforts by the opposition and other critics to link Mrs. Arroyo directly to jueteng operations.

Several witnesses have been presented alleging Mrs. Arroyo used money from illegal gambling to bribe Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials to cheat and ensure her victory last year.

Other witnesses had also linked members of her family to illegal gambling payoffs.

The opposition claimed the wiretap recordings of alleged conversations between Mrs. Arroyo and former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano further proved she cheated in last year’s election.

Critics had even advised Mrs. Arroyo to go on a "leave of absence" to allow her the time to defend herself from the attacks, a suggestion dismissed by Malacañang officials.

"These scandal-mongers don’t create jobs, make the water cleaner, educate the uneducated or elevate our national discourse," he added. — Aurea Calica


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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