MALACAÑANG FLATLY DENIED REPORT THAT FVR IS UNDER SURVEILLANCE

MANILA
, November 5, 2005
(STAR) Malacañang flatly denied today a report that former President Fidel V. Ramos is under military and police surveillance after he supposedly expressed dissatisfaction with the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Calling Ramos a valuable ally of the Arroyo administration, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye stressed that "there is no reason to closely watch" the former president.

Dismissing the report as baseless and "unproductive speculation," he said, "We believe that the former president is a valuable ally and there is no need to closely watch him."

Bunye was reacting to a banner story of a Manila daily this morning which cited unnamed "senior military and police officials" as saying that the current political climate has created a rift between a group loyal to the President and another group loyal to Ramos.

The Malacañang spokesman demurred when asked for his take on the published report, saying it was difficult to make a comment on a news report with an unidentified source.

"I believe it is best that we focus on things that would help improve our economy," he said.

He added that Malacañang realizes that rumors on coup plots will persist as long as there are desperate groups out there endlessly scheming to destabilize the Arroyo administration and grab power for their own self-interest.

Bunye said what destabilizers don’t seem to realize nor care is the extent of the damage their efforts to bring down the Arroyo administration inflict on the country’s economy and development.

He pointed out that despite the chaos that detractors of the President are desperately trying to create, the confidence of the international community in the Philippine is up, the peso is strong, the stock market is on an upsurge, and tourists are visiting the country in droves.

"You can just imagine the many positive developments that our people should be experiencing if it were not for persistent efforts by self-serving individuals to sow confusion and destabilize the government," Bunye said.

RAPE CASE:  GMA HAS CALLED FOR THOROUGH INVESTIGATION TO ENSURE JUSTICE IS DONE

Malacañang said today the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are doing everything to ensure the 22-year-old Filipino woman who was allegedly raped last Nov. 1 by six American servicemen inside the Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales will receive justice and the assistance she needs.

In a radio interview this morning, Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye assured that the incident will be investigated in accordance with Philippine laws and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.

The VFA is a treaty between the Philippines and the US that institutionalizes the rules on the treatment of American servicemen who are in the country to hold military exercises with Filipino troops.

"We will make sure that justice and due process will prevail," Bunye said, adding that full assistance will be accorded to the Filipina. "Everybody is doing his job as far as seeing to it that justice is done."

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, through Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, has called for a thorough investigation of the case to ensure that justice is done.

Bunye said the US government, through its Manila embassy, is cooperating fully with the Philippine authorities conducting the investigation.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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