Counsels of First Couple slam report on alleged foundations

September 9, 2009 10:30 am 

MANILA, Sept. 9 — Counsels of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo today slammed reports insinuating the First Couple have created foundations that benefit from government funds.

In a press statement, Atty. Romulo B. Macalintal (Counsel to the President) and Atty. Ruy Alberto S. Rondain (Counsel to the First Gentleman), urged critics to avoid malicious insinuations through “unfair parallelisms with past public officials against whom competent evidence was presented.”

The lawyers of the First Couple are reacting to the published newspaper article of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) claiming the Arroyos founded several non-government organizations similar to those owned by deposed president Joseph Estrada.

Macalintal and Rondain, in a joint press statement, corrected some “misimpressions” in the said article saying the First Couple are not, in any way, involved in Lualhati Foundation, Kasangga, Gabay, Kagabay ni Glo and Amigo Foundation as claimed by the report.

In regards to Centrist Democrat International, the lawyers corrected that this is an “association” and not an NGO formed by former House Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr. during an international parliamentary union assembly he hosted in Manila in 2005.

“Rep. De Venecia merely listed President Arroyo and former president Fidel Ramos as incorporators, including then Speaker Rannaridh of Cambodia and political party heads from other parties. This proves that this association is not a foundation, and it certainly does not benefit from government funds,” the counsels clarified.

They added that President Arroyo and the First Gentleman have not even heard of the GMA Foundation identified in the article.

The counsels pointed out that none of the foundations the First Couple are involved in received any funding, “pork,” loan or any financial assistance of any kind or nature from the government or any of its instrumentalities. These entities receive funding solely from private donations.

They also clarified the First Couple could not comply with the reportorial requirements from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) because some of the foundations have since become inactive.

“As admitted by the article, the FG Foundation is probably the most active of the lot. It is no secret that it has alleviated the plight of less fortunate Filipinos, and these projects and their beneficiaries have been posted in its website precisely to show its transparency,” they noted.

As to the non-reporting of the First Couple of their foundations in their respective Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN), the lawyers stressed that these did not have to be reported because they do not pertain to business or financial interests. (PNA) DCT/OPS/ssc

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