PALACE  DEFENDS  P22 M SPENT ON PAID ADS: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?

MANILA
, October 10, 2005
(STAR) What's wrong with that?

This was Malacañang's defense Monday in response to an investigative report that alleged President Gloria Arroyo's allies had spent more than 22 million pesos in advertisements in major Metro Manila newspapers to buoy itself against criticism.

In a statement, Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said, "Those advertisements were paid for by the private sector and this only goes to show the depth of support behind the President and her programs."

"Our allies spent their money in ads while our detractors spent theirs in tearing down the democratic system and in foreign espionage," Bunye said.

According to a report by the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the Arroyo administration has spent more than 22 million pesos in advertisements in major Manila dailies since the "Gloriagate" crisis began.

This was compared to the opposition's two million pesos it spent on aids in three of the biggest national dailies during the three-and-a-half month period surveyed for the PCIJ report.

However, Reli German, a member of the president's ad hoc communications group, explained that while some of the government groups may have felt the need to express support for the beleaguered head of state, the administration did not orchestrate the advertising barrage.

Palace sneers at Senate 'transparency,'probe on EO 464 10/10 4:54:05 PM

Malacañang derided Monday an opposition claim that a presidential order regulating the appearance of key government officials before any legislative inquiries violates the principle of transparency.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. had earlier said Executive Order 464 directly violates the principles of check and balance, transparency in government operations, and right of the people to information.

In response, Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said in a statement, "The Senate’s idea of transparency is to publicly humiliate officials in aid of destabilization."

"The Executive branch will always be transparent, and you, the media, make sure of that," Bunye pointed out.

Likewise, he reminded administration critics that, "Executive Order No. 464 is a legitimate exercise of the President’s constitutional authority over the Executive branch."

The Senate is reportedly set to challenge before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of EO 464.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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