AUGUST 14 2009

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said the Arroyo administration is duty bound to disclose the total expenses incurred by Mrs. Arroyo during her trip to the United States.

“The report that the consulate in New York has been asked to foot the bill is disturbing, and if true, exposes the sham behind Malacanang’s claim that taxpayer’s money was not spent for the Le Cirque dinner,” he said.

According to reports, the Philippine consulate in New York has been slapped with the bill for Mrs. Arroyo and her entourage, who stayed for three days in the city. The costs include payment for the Arroyo’s suite at the Waldorf-Astoria, and for the other members of the delegation, limousine service, and two dinners at Le Cirque.

Binay noted that the congressmen who were part of the delegation had denied spending their own money, while the House also said the chamber did not allocate funds for the travel.

“Malacanang needs to come clean on the issue,” he said.

“Who paid for the travel expenses, the hotel accommodations, the two dinners at Le Cirque and the limousine service? If these were paid for by the consulate, then it is taxpayer’s money,” he said.

The Makati mayor noted that Malacanang keeps insisting that the issue is not about the cost of Mrs. Arroyo’s travels but the benefits that she brings back.

“Up to now, Malacanang has yet to provide a detailed accounting of real, tangible benefits from these foreign travels. What they frequently mention are commitments and pledges. We do not know how many of these pledges and commitments have materialized,” he said.


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