$20,000 – OR P960,000 – DINNER TAB FOR ARROYO ENTOURAGE WHILE NATION MOURNS DEATH OF CORY INSENSITIVE, DEPLORABLE – BINAY
AUGUST 8, 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO
In the midst of record-level hunger and while the nation mourned the death of former president Corazon Aquino, Mrs. Arroyo and her US entourage ran up a bill of $20,000 – or the equivalent of P960,000 at the current exchange rate– in an upscale New York restaurant.
For Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay, the extravagance showed the Arroyo administration’s insensitivity and hypocrisy.
“The Arroyo administration talks about giving honor and respect to the memory of the former president. It seems that spending an astonishing amount of money – enough to provide almost 3,000 hungry families with three square meals – appears to be their idea of honoring and respecting Cory, ” he said.
Binay said Mrs. Arroyo and her party appeared to be in a celebratory mood, with Arroyo herself reportedly ordering expensive wine. The dinner was held a few hours before they left for Manila to “pay their respects” to the former president at the Manila Cathedral.
“While the nation was in mourning, a report that Mrs. Arroyo and her people were celebrating in New York with expensive wine leaves a bad taste in the mouth,” he said.
An item in the Food Section of the New York Post dated August 7 2009 said:
“The economic downturn hasn’t persuaded everyone to pinch pennies. Philippines President Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was at Le Cirque the other night with a large entourage enjoying the good life, even though the former comptroller of her country’s armed services, Carlos Garcia, was found guilty earlier this year of per jury and two of his sons were arrested in the US on bulk cash-smuggling charges. Maca pagal-Arroyo ordered several bottles of very expensive wine, pushing the dinner tab up to $20,000.”
A copy of Mrs. Arroyo’s tab, which has been posted in several blogs, showed her ordering 11 bottles of Krug champagne priced at $510 per bottle. The entourage also feasted on Osetra caviar ($1,400 for five ounces), a “Chef’s Tasting Menu” or wine paired with a dish ($4,500 for 25 orders) and a “three-course Chef’s Seasonal Menu” ($1,450 for 25 orders).
The amount, Binay said, is enough to provide three square meals to 2,956 families living on the poverty threshold.
“If you consider that an average family has six members, the P960,000 would have fed 18,000 Filipinos for one day,” he said.
“How Mrs. Arroyo and her administration can justify blowing P960,000 for dinner and expensive wine at a time of economic difficulty is beyond me,” he said.
“What they did was deplorable especially if taxpayers’ money was spent. If they spent private money, what they did was in bad taste and again showed insensitivity to the millions of Filipinos who face hunger daily,” he said.
The Philippines currently ranks fifth among 56 countries where hunger is prevalent, according to a survey conducted by Gallup International.
And a recent survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS) said hunger grew worse in the second quarter than in the first three months of 2009, with 20.3 percent of families, or 3.7 million families, having experienced involuntary hunger. Hunger has been at double digit since 2004.
The SWS said the new hunger figure is just three points lower than the record-high 23.7 percent or some 4.3 million families recorded in December 2008.
This entry was posted on August 8, 2009 at 10:59 am and is filed under UNO Press Release with tags 000, 000 Filipinos, 18, 400 for five ounces), 450 for 25 orders), 500 for 25 orders), a “Chef’s Tasting Menu” or wine paired with a dish ($4, “three-course Chef’s Seasonal Menu” ($1, Carlos Garcia, death of former president Corazon Aquino, Food Section of the New York Post dated August 7 2009, Gallup International, Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay, Mrs. Arroyo and her US entourage, Osetra caviar ($1, Social Weather Station (SWS), the equivalent of P960. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.