AUGUST 20 2009

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today reminded Malacanang that Mrs. Arroyo is not exempt from the austerity measures that she herself had ordered implemented in 2004.

“Malacanang should be reminded that no one, most especially Mrs. Arroyo, is exempt from government rules and regulations, including the austerity measures which Mrs. Arroyo herself had imposed on all government personnel and offices,” Binay said.

The statement, he added, “betrays the mind set of Malacanang that Mrs. Arroyo and those who surround her are exempt from the law.”

Mrs. Arroyo signed Administrative Order no 103 in 2004, citing the need to maintain “prudent fiscal management” in order to ensure “a balanced budget by 2009.”

Among other measures, Mrs. Arroyo ordered a suspension on all foreign travels “except for attendance in ministerial meetings, scholarship/trainings that are grant-funded or undertaken at no cost to the government.”

Palace officials – determined to stamp out the controversy over the lavish dinners and the plush accommodations of the Arroyo party during their recent trip to the United States – said Wednesday that her foreign travels are an exception to the austerity measures.

The opposition leader also questioned the veracity of the list of benefits from Mrs. Arroyo’s recent “scandal-ridden” US trip.

The list of benefits, he said, is no different from the list of so-called benefits from Mrs. Arroyo’s other trips.

“They contain mostly pledges that may or may not materialize, commitments made under existing agreements with the US government that will materialize even without a visit to the US , and agreements entered into by previous administrations, including that of President Joseph Estrada,” he said.

“Eto yata ang tinatawag na drowing,” he added.


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