Glo-ttony at NYC's Le Cirque,

Anakpawis/Kadamay lunch at QC's Circle

 

August 11, 2009

 

 

   
   
   
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BAYAN News Release

August 8, 2009

Palace asked to explain GMA’s $20,000 dinner tab in Le Cirque, New York

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan called on Malacanang to explain the $20,000 dinner tab it allegedly incurred while dining in Le Cirque restaurant in New York during President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s.

News of the lavish dinner spending came in out in the August 7 edition of the New York Post. According to writer Richard Johnson, “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. Macapagal-Arroyo ordered several bottles of very expensive wine, pushing the dinner tab up to $20,000.”

The short article appeared on the Eat and Drink section of Page Six of the NY Post online edition. http://www.nypost.com/seven/08072009/gossip/pagesix/eat_and_drink_183333.htm

“Malacanang has a lot of explaining to do about this latest allegation which came out in an American paper. Who spent for the lavish dinner? Is it appropriate for a head of state of a Third World country like Mrs. Arroyo to wine and dine in such a manner, given that we’re in the midst of a crisis?”, asked Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“This is one dinner that certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth, at least for the rest of the Filipino people,” Reyes added.

The $20,000 bill is equivalent to around P960,000 or almost a million. The group said that even if someone else paid for the tab, it still would not look appropriate. “It’s embarrassing for the Philippines to have such write-ups appear in a foreign paper. It begs the question, what is Mrs. Arroyo really doing during her trips? Are tax-payers being made to shoulder the lavish lifestyles of the so-called rich and famous?” he added.

Reyes also pointed out that the reputation of corruption seemed to have stuck with Philippine officials, with the article even citing the case of former Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller General Carlos Garcia who was convicted of perjury and who’s two sons were arrested in the US on charges of bulk-cash smuggling.

“This ostentatious display of affluence reminiscent of Imelda Marcos reinforces the perception that Philippine officials are corrupt and are living it up while others wallow in crisis. It is truly disappointing and disgusting,” Reyes said.

In a study, released in early November 2008 as part of Gallup’s World Food Day survey, 40%, or 4 in 10, Filipinos reported that they experienced hunger “often or sometimes” in the last 12 months.###
 

     
     

 

Let them eat dirt

Luis Teodoro

 


It’s no hot dog stand, but it’s no Max’s Restaurant either. Its owner Sirio Maccioni describes it in its website (www.lecirque.com) as “a place where the worlds of food, fashion, art and culture converge,” although he doesn’t say how it enables patrons to live, or even to just think about, art and culture between the soup and the entrée.

New York’s Le Cirque seats about 150 in separate dining, private event and bar areas. Its décor of yellow and orange evokes “ a circus big top that actually looks more like the inside of a humungous lamp shade.”

The above observation occurs in a 2008 review of Le Cirque by New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni. It’s titled, with tongue firmly in cheek, “In Defense of Decadence” (an allusion to food activist Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food, which advocates eating simple organic food and “mostly plants”). The Bruni review describes Le Cirque offerings as “opulent,” “luxurious,” “ostentatious, “wanton,” and “craven” among other epithets. And all for consumption in “a setting of deliberate pompousness.”

The owner, said Bruni, is in his restaurant practically every night, “beckoning you to come in and exhorting you to go for broke, a stubborn evangelist for unblushing indulgence. What he’s selling is not so much one evening of pleasure as a whole history, a whole legend, of privilege and pampering.”

Bruni gave Le Cirque a rating of three stars and a half out of a possible four, together with a list of recommended dishes. He did express some guilt over his endorsement of such indulgence, which during the current economic crisis comes off as uncool except for the nouveau riche and the not-so-nouveau moneyed.

Other reviewers have been less kind. Some claim that Le Cirque intentionally makes non-celebrities feel worthless by giving them bad tables and providing mediocre service while still charging exorbitant prices. From Bruni’s and these reviewers’ description, Le Cirque does sound like a place where arrivistes, celebrities and the important, as well as those “scarily expert at looking that way” (Bruni), come to be seen. A few embezzlers, Mafiosi, and the shameless rulers of certain poor third world countries won’t be out of place in Le Cirque

Indeed they haven’t been. The Ponzi scheme swindler Bernard Madoff, who’s in prison for 150 years, was reportedly a patron. In a just world he would be on trial for genocide and other high crimes at the International Criminal Court for orchestrating the carpet bombing of Indochina and the brutal 1973 coup in Chile. But former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger still frequents Le Cirque. Maybe the cholesterol in the pate foie gras will get him. No fair wishing the same of our own little Madoffs (the pyramid scammers) and Kissingers (those responsible for extra-judicial killings). They deserve worse.

 

 

But before Palace propagandist Cerge Remonde goes into another paroxysm against the media, whether here or abroad, we probably need to inform him that Bruni is a prize-winning journalist and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, with about 30 years’ experience reporting everything from child abuse to US presidential campaigns. The New York Times says he has covered Washington DC, was the NYT bureau chief in Rome, and is a best selling author of, among others, a book on George W. Bush (Ambling Into History, 2003).
 

All that makes Bruni credible, even if his newspaper hasn’t always been (particularly during the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003). Note his adjectives, then. “Simple” — which Cerge Remonde, who has little, if any, respect for the oral or written word, used to describe his boss Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and company’s July 31 dinner at Le Cirque — “simple” isn’t one of them.

“Ostentatious,” “wanton” and “craven” are particularly memorable. Of equal interest is the information that for prime dinner time, patrons have to call two weeks in advance, which means that, despite Remonde’s and others in the Arroyo retinue ‘s implication that the dinner was a spur-of-the-moment thing, it was planned at least two weeks in advance.

But let’s not get into such details as the fact that Le Cirque wasn’t the only high- end restaurant where Arroyo and company dined before and after her precious 30-minute visit with Barack Obama. In one steak house, the dinner bill of US$15,000 came close to the US$20,000 the gang spent at Le Cirque. The Le Cirque dinner has been justly described as outrageous, excessive, disgusting, and more, in the context of the fact that between 2 million to 3.7 million families go hungry regularly in the Philippines and together with rats and stray dogs have to scrounge for food in garbage bins and other places far far away from Le Cirque. No caviar, pate de foie gras, Chilean sea bass and French champagne to wash it down for them.

But as scandals during the Arroyo watch go, this one isn’t any more or less offensive to morals, good taste or plain decency than election fraud, the ZTE-NBN scandal, the P500,00 payoffs to congressmen in exchange for their support for charter change, the padding of the National Artists’ list with the names of Arroyo pets, etc.etc. It’s par for the course, and the question is why, despite being several times exposed, the Arroyo clique keeps doing things like this.

Unlike the meal Remonde and company enjoyed during their “working dinner” at Le Cirque, the answer is simple enough. The current ruling clique doesn’t care about public opinion, because it believes that it can do what it pleases no matter what the country’s laws and the Constitution, simple morality, or plain good taste say.

Neither does it particularly care about the Filipino people, especially the ones who’re slowly starving their way to an early grave in this earthly paradise. In that sense it’s just like Le Cirque: it doesn’t care about people unless they’re rich and powerful (we have to grant that Arroyo and company do care about what Barack Obama thinks). Except that the poor don’t even get a place at the table in the country of their despair. At Le Cirque they’ll at least give you a table by the kitchen door even if you’re nobody.

(BusinessWorld)

     
     
     

 

Malacanang asked to explain $15,000 dinner in Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in DC
News Release
August 13, 2008

BAYAN

Malacanang asked to explain $15,000 dinner in Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in DC

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is under fire again for reportedly spending some $15,000 at a well-known steakhouse in Washington DC during her recent US trip. Both the Washington Post and the New York Post reported that Mrs. Arroyo and company wined and dined at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in DC, three days before her now infamous $20,000 dinner at Le Cirque in New York.

The Washington Post in a column on August 12 called The Reliable Source reported that it “has learned that Arroyo and an entourage of about 65 people (including security and food tasters) had dinner at Bobby Van's Steakhouse on 15th Street NW hours after she met with President Obama. The group took over one of the restaurant's private rooms and dined on lobster, steak and fine wines; at the conclusion of the meal, an unidentified woman opened a handbag stuffed with cash, counted out bills and paid the $15,000 tab -- which included a generous tip.”

The New York Post on the other hand reported that “Before their $20,000 meal at Le Cirque, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and an entourage of about 65 -- complete with food tasters, Secret Service and a kitchen monitor to watch food preparation -- dined at Bobby Van's Steakhouse in DC on July 30. "The party spared no expense, and had lobster, steak and expensive wines," said a source. "They paid their $15,000 bill, including a generous tip, with cash -- which was counted out, unseen, underneath a table by a staff member." Meanwhile, we've learned that Philippine Congressman Martin Romualdez, who allegedly paid for the Le Cirque feast, is a nephew of Imelda Marcos -- who was exiled and acquitted in the US of racketeering charges before returning to her country.”


“Have they no shame? This is the second time reports have called attention to what has been perceived as lavish spending on the part of Mrs. Arroyo’s entourage during their US trip. Malacanang cannot just dismiss these allegations as agitation-propaganda. The people demand an explanation, some transparency and accountability. We cannot blame people for being outraged over these reports,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The Bobby Van’s dinner can still be considered excessive spending. Even if there were 65 people in the entourage, at $15,000, this would mean $230 per person. This is still way above normal, even by American standards. By Philippine standards, that’s like spending P11,000 per person,” Reyes added.


Bayan warned Malacanang that the people’s patience grows thin with the constant evasion and obfuscation being done the Palace spokespersons.


 

 

 

“We’d hope for some humility and honesty on the part of the president and her spokespersons. We detest the arrogance and utter lack of remorse being shown by this administration. What is happening is simply disgusting. They dined like kings, not once, but twice!” Reyes said.

“At this point, people deserve to know the full extent of the spending done by the President’s entourage during their stay in the US. This should serve as a negative example for future public officials. No longer should this type of lavish spending be tolerated or covered up,” he added. ###

 

 

 

 

Photo by Anakbayan

 

     

 

Press Statement
August 10, 2009

Reference: RENATO M. REYES, JR
Bayan Secretary General

On Sec. Remonde’s tirades against BAYAN

Press Secretary Serge Remonde should just stick to the issue instead of hurling irrelevant accusations against BAYAN, lest he wants people to believe that BAYAN is now sitting on the editorial board of the New York Post.

BAYAN was not the original source of the story but the New York Post. It is therefore ridiculous to say that the issue of Mrs. Arroyo’s dinner at Le Cirque restaurant in New York is part of “agitation-propaganda” against the Arroyo government. Remonde has gone on to accuse BAYAN of being a “communist front” that seeks to overthrow the government.

No, Sec. Remonde, we didn’t start the fire. But you are surely fanning it.

Even if it was Rep. Martin Romualdez (another public official) who paid for it, it doesn’t make the New York dinner any less revolting. The perception remains that Philippine public officials are living it up while the rest of the Filipinos wallow in poverty.

The worn-out red-baiting being done by Remonde is meant to evade the basic question of accountability for public officials. People, including critics of government, have every right to ask questions involving the conduct and lifestyle of public officials. These Supposed public servants are held up to a high standard of accountability and morality, whether they are in the Philippines or in another country.

Sec. Remonde should watch his words. Many of BAYAN's members and affiliates have been killed because they were called “communist fronts” and “enemies of the state”. Remonde seems to be echoing a line that we have also heard from the likes of Gen. Jovito Palparan. ###

     
           
     
           
           
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Streetwise
Streetwise

By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

A reason to celebrate

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cabal are at the end of their rope and they don’t know it, or pretend not to. They are so isolated, so inured from criticism and have so far gotten away with so much mayhem that they do not half realize how outraged the people are. Having lied and bribed their way out of the “Hello Garci”, NBN-ZTE and other scandals, they think they can get away with their orgy of lavish dining in the US through flimsy explanations, ridiculous alibis, worn-out justifications and squid tactics. 

Presidential buffoon aka spokesperson Serge Remonde tried McCarthyist red-scare tactics by simply dismissing the New York Post news report of the Le Cirque million-peso dinner for the presidential party as the invention of the Leftist alliance BAYAN.  According to the intellectually-challenged Mr. Remonde, BAYAN is a communist-front organization whose sole purpose in life is to bring down the Arroyo government ergo it cannot be believed on anything much less the report that the Arroyo party was spending precious public funds in restaurants for the rich and famous like there was no tomorrow.

When that didn’t work and news of another pricey meal and then another surfaced, Mrs. Arroyo’s defenders, including her son Congressman Mikey Arroyo, tried to pooh-pooh the dinner as inexpensive by US standards, saying that one can’t compromise the dignity of the office of the President of the Republic by having her eat at a hotdog stand or turo-turo.

Such a ludicrous equation of one’s self-worth with the price tag of one’s meal fell to pieces once the press reminded everyone that US President Obama and his Vice-President are not above dropping in on their friendly neighborhood hamburger joint for a quick, satisfying meal.  In fact, such folksy behavior has the immediate and perhaps intended effect of boosting the popularity of Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden.

But what’s the big deal, says the Palace, the government didn’t foot the bill after all.  Mrs. Arroyo’s political allies like multi-millionaire Congressmen Messrs. Romualdez and Suarez representing dirt-poor provinces like Leyte and Quezon were honored to pay for the presidential repasts.  Someone always happened to pick up the bill and it would have been impolite to ask who, so why the big hullabaloo? 

Given the penchant of this administration for quickly washing its hands of any wrong doing by passing the buck to someone else, the public isn’t biting.  More especially when the promised accounting for the outlay of the US trip doesn’t materialize; when House Speaker Nograles feels compelled to declare in a press conference that congressmen, like himself, who joined Mrs. Arroyo’s US trip will personally pay for their own expenses once they get the statement of account (so the junket was indeed a freebie to begin with); when the Justice Secretary admits that her office paid for her expenditures during the trip; and most telling of all, when Malacañang is forced to admit that while the allocation for presidential foreign travels since 2001 up to the present is P1,439,232,000, the actual costs have skyrocketed to P2,499,280,595.08 or over a billion pesos more than budgeted.

The latest government line is that budget overruns for Mrs. Arroyo’s foreign travels are not illegal and they are more than justified by the “billions in investments’ that such trips bring to the country.  Apart from the glowing government press releases about agreements for future investments or expressions of business interest in investing in the Philippines, the available data about a decreasing trend in foreign direct investments since 2008 tend to belie official claims even as there is serious criticism as to whether such investments have actually been beneficial for the country or have in fact deepened its mal-development over the years.
 

 

A lot has been said, correctly and in rightful indignation, of how outrageous and out rightly scandalous the orgy of lavish dinners was.   All commentaries attribute the Palace faux pas to insensitivity, lack of delicadeza, gluttony, etc but one wonders if we have gotten to the bottom of things or exhausted all the reasons why the Arroyo entourage did not think twice about squandering millions of pesos on two meals in a single day.

At first glance, all these would appear to be quite the “natural” behavior of a president in hubris -- especially an illegitimate, plundering and profligate one -- who is about to bow out of office and all its perks and privileges.  Eat and enjoy all you can, while you can, critics be damned. 

But look again. Would any congressman, even the most loyal, blow a million bucks for a single meal if he thought Mrs. Arroyo was a lame duck president?  Was the much sought-after audience with Mr. Obama a factor in going into an orgy of lavish dining after the 40-minute meeting?
 

Of course Mrs. Arroyo, with her negative popularity ratings has, for the longest time, been desperate for a photo-op with the popular US President. The brief audience, regardless of the result or content, was reason enough to celebrate.  More than being a propaganda coup, it was by all indications a boost to her legitimacy, much to the chagrin of uncritically pro-US opposition leaders.  The designation as anti-terrorist coordinator for the US in the ASEAN ups Mrs. Arroyo’s image and stature as closest US ally and collaborator in the region.  This translates concretely into more US military aid, political backing and financial gains, e.g. loans and investments as a result of a better image of political stability.

It is worthwhile to note that shortly after this designation, the US Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Command Adm. Timothy Keating arrived for a meeting of the Enhanced Security Board with Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Gen. Victor Ibrado.  Was it mere coincidence that the AFP launched a military offensive to capture a major Abu Sayyaf stronghold in Basilan during the visit?  The operation, if successful and with minimum casualties, would have been impressive pogi points for Mrs. Arroyo and the AFP.  But the fiasco of suffering 22 dead and more wounded, and the unexpected involvement of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the battle, spoiled all plans and attempts to claim a major victory in the counter-terrorist war and affirm the designation as Southeast Asia’s counter-terrorism top honcho.

But why, in the first place, would a lame duck president and her retinue of ass lickers be so thrilled and elated at her being named regional counter-terrorist czar that she couldn’t help splurging on a USD 15-thousand lunch followed by another USD 20-thouand dinner?

In the same vein, why would Mrs. Arroyo want to purchase a new presidential jet worth 1.5 billion pesos less than a year before she steps down from office, the comfort and security of the next Malacañang occupant being the least likely of her concerns.

There is one more than plausible explanation.  None of those insatiable creatures, whose craving for pelf and power is matched only by their appetite for exorbitant wining and dining, ever believed that Mrs. Arroyo would be stepping down in 2010.  That, more than anything else, is what they felt they had come closer to achieving with the Obama audience. #

 
           
     
     

 

Statement
August 12, 2009

Reference: Peter Arvin Jabido, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, email: nychrp@gmail.com

IS GLORIA THE NEW IMELDA?
Filipinos in New York Respond to Arroyo's "Simple" Meals

Despite the claims of the Arroyo administration, there are certainly simple, inexpensive culinary pleasures to be had in New York City. While the Big Apple is certainly home to Wall Street power lunches, Tavern On The Green, and the Russian Tea Room, it is also home to the $1 pizza slice, the $1.25 hot dog from the street vendor, and the $4 over rice plate in Chinatown.

And with New York unemployment reaching a record high of 400,000 in 2008 due to the economic crisis, these cheap eats are becoming everyday fare for more and more New Yorkers.

In fact, New Yorkers would be the first to rebuke Philippine Presidential Press Secretary Cerge Remonde's claims that the recent New York City dinner of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her travel entourage was a "simple" dinner, or the line that such expensive rates are "standard" in New York City.

There was nothing "simple" about Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's entourage drawing up a $20,000 tab for two tables at the ritzy Le Cirque Restaurant in Manhattan. Surely such a feast for the 65 Philippine bureaucrats who literally wined and dined to their hearts content could have easily fed several small villages in the Philippines itself. What blows our minds even more is the recent news that the infamous $20k extravaganza was preceded by a similar $15k fete in Washington DC, where Arroyo and her entourage dined at Bobby Van's Steakhouse after her state visit with President Barack Obama.

As Filipinos in New York, this degree of extravagance from a Philippine Head of State is both vulgar and, unfortunately, familiar. Before the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, former First Lady Imelda Marcos was known for closing entire floors in Saks Fifth Avenue for her million-dollar shopping sprees. In 1982, Imelda arrived in New York to shop with 40 assistants and 300 suitcases. The previous year, Imelda purchased a Park Avenue apartment and its contents for a lump sum of $9.5 million. According to People Magazine, the then-First Lady even imported workers from the Philippines to help in refurbishing rooms in the Manhattan properties she bought. At it's height, the Marcos family had purchased billions worth in New York City real estate, including the $51 million Crown Building and the $60 million Herald Center. Ironically, Imelda declined on purchasing the Empire State Building at $750 million, claiming it was "too ostentatious".
 

But while the rest of the world was agasp and Filipinos vowed never again to such bawdy displays of lavishness, Arroyo's latest spending spree on her so-called "simple" meals indicate she may have been taking notes from the so-called Steel Butterfly all along.

Conversely, a 2008 survey in the Philippines conducted by Gallup International revealed that four out of every ten Filipinos reported having little or no food at all on their tables in the last 12 months. At 90 million, the Philippines has one of the highest population growth rates in Asia. The Arroyo government's failure to resolve increasing food insecurity in the country leaves hunger and malnourishment a reality for the majority of families in the Philippines.The most acute pangs of hunger remain in the densely-populated urban slum communities of Metro Manila, where just stone's throw away from Arroyo's residence, at least half a million families lack food.
 

Such excessive spending on food in the face of extreme hunger cannot be tolerated. Arroyo and friends have some serious explaining to do to the millions of poor Filipinos, including our families, whom we strive to support with our hard-earned remittances.

If $20k for dinner is "simple", then how much would "decent", "normal", and "fancy" cost, by Arroyo standards? And if the Marcoses still have the gall to this day to swear by their dead patriarch's glass coffin that they did not spend billions in Philippine public funds for their own whims, even amidst credible evidence indicating gross graft and corruption on their part, aren't Arroyo, Remonde, et al playing the same tune when it comes to their arrogantly unapologetic stand on these dinner tabs? Does one need to be a communist to put two and two together, or is this a case of plain common sense?

In fact, an examination of Arroyo's penchant for lavish spending of public funds during foreign trips coupled with her propensity for political repression and human rights violations of her own countrymen, may make her the star combination of both Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' worst traits-- all wrapped up in a tiny 4'11" moled package.

Is Gloria the New Imelda in terms of spending? With her "simple" dinner costing tens of thousands in US dollars, the answer doesn't look too bright for us mere $1.25 hot dog eaters. But then again, do we really want her to stick around in office long enough to find out?

Let us take our cue from Philippine history. In 1983, the death of one Aquino, who's star shone brightly against the darkness of tyranny and corruption, contributed to fast tracking an ongoing people's movement that toppled a dictatorship marked by repression, corruption and obscene lavishness. Today, in 2009, with the Arroyo administration embodying these same traits, shouldn't the death of another Aquino, who perhaps shined even brighter, do the same?
--
New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
www.nychrp.org
email: nychrp@gmail.com

     

xAugust 10, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

‘Palace keeps dishing out hypocrisy’
1M spent for dinner could've gone to educ sector-solon

After Malacañang officials defended the $20,000 Manhattan dinner, Kabataan Party-list Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino today said that President Arroyo should still explain why she, together with legislators and Cabinet officials, managed to dine at a lavish French restaurant amid the economic crisis.

“Regardless of who footed the bill, Arroyo and other officials displayed crassness and insensitivity when they wined and dined at an expensive restaurant. This is the voice of millions of hungry Filipinos. This is not an ‘agitation propaganda,’” Palatino said, referring to an earlier statement by Press Secretary Cerge Remonde.

Palatino said, “Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Remonde keeps on dishing out hypocritical statements when he said that the report was ‘grossly exaggerated.’ It is no exaggeration when people get mad at Arroyo for her lavish lifestyle especially when the President herself underscored the need for thriftiness in consonance with the economic difficulties.”

In a newspaper report, Arroyo said that the government should “set the tone for sacrifice” amid rising fares and prices.

Palatino said, “Whether Arroyo used taxpayer’s money or not for that dinner, it is unnerving how she managed to fine-dine at an expensive restaurant while millions of Filipinos could barely eat three times a day. While Arroyo and her cohorts were served with wines and caviars, her people had tuyo and asin for dinner,” Palatino said.

According to a study by the Asian Development Bank, 25.4 million Filipinos live below $1.35 a day. Meanwhile, some four out of 10 Filipinos often experienced hunger during the last quarter of 2008.

Palatino also said that the amount could have been used for the education sector especially that Arroyo announced that her last year in office would focus on education.

“The sight of students squatting on dirty floors in makeshift classrooms and sharing ratty textbooks is commonplace, nearly half of students go to schools that have no libraries, and not surprisingly, the quality of public education has miserably suffered. Indeed, from the year 2001 to 2009, not only has the country’s education system not modernized, it has remained as backward as it has ever been,” Palatino said.


--
Office of Rep. Raymond ‘Mong’ Palatino
Temporary Office c/o Office of Rep. Lisa Maza
Room 309, South Wing, House of Representatives, Batasan Complex, Quezon City

Reference:
Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino
Mobile: 09085927099
Email: cong.mongpalatino@gmail.com
JM Ragaza, Media Officer, 09166947806
 

     
     
           
     

 

AUGUST 9, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After lavish Manhattan dinner
Arroyo cannot wash her hands clean of reckless spending-solon

Kabataan Party-list Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino today said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cannot wash her hands clean of the controversial dinner at a lavish Manhattan resturant.

“Paalala ng ating mga magulang: Maghugas ng kamay pagkatapos kumain. Ngunit hindi magagawang hugasan ni Arroyo ang kanyang kamay sa pagwaldas ng pera sa isang handaang nagkakahalaga ng halos isang milyong piso.” Palatino said.

Palatino said, “Whether Arroyo used taxpayer’s money or not for that dinner, it is unnerving how she managed to fine-dine at an expensive resturant while millions of Filipinos could barely eat three times a day. While Arroyo and her cohorts were served with wines and caviars, her people had tuyo and asin for dinner,” Palatino said.
According to a study by the Asian Development Bank, 25.4 million Filipinos live below $1.35 a day. Meanwhile, some four out of 10 Filipinos often experienced hunger during the last quarter of 2008.

“Clearly, such crassness from our President reflects her administration—while the people are living in abject poverty, our gluttonous leaders only have themselves to think about,” Palatino said.

“Just imagine how many Filipinos could be fed with that amount. Or, the money could have been used to provide schools with computers, books and other equipment. During these times of economic turmoil why is a Third World President living a lavish lifestyle?,” Palatino said.

--
Office of Rep. Raymond ‘Mong’ Palatino
Temporary Office c/o Office of Rep. Lisa Maza
Room 309, South Wing, House of Representatives, Batasan Complex, Quezon City

Reference:
Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino
Mobile: 09085927099
Email: cong.mongpalatino@gmail.com
JM Ragaza, Media Officer, 09166947806

 

           
     
           

 

"Di namin masikmura!"
Kabataan Partylist holds karinderya protest vs Arroyo's million-peso dinner

August 10, 2009

Members of Kabataan Partylist trooped to cafeterias and 'karinderyas' in University Belt in Manila today to express their disgust over the controversial P1M dinner Arroyo and her family took at a lavish restaurant in the US. They distributed and posted copies of the dinner menu costing almost $20,000 and held placards saying "Di namin masikmura!" and "Mahiya naman kayo!"

According to Vencer Crisostomo, Kabataan Partylist Secretary-General, the Arroyo family's reckless spending amidst the poverty ang hunger experienced by majority Filipinos is "an insult deserving of the youth and people's outrage".

"They are shameless. A million pesos for a dinner party is simply too much greed and gluttony for the people to forgive and let pass," said Crisostomo.

He said they will put up copies of the million-peso dinner tab in cafeterias, canteens, and karinderyas all over the country "so that everytime the students and working people order their tipid lunch, they will remember the 'kawalanghiyaan' of the corrupt first family." #


References: Vencer Crisostomo, 09224290258
Divs Mosquera, 09234547962

 

PRESS RELEASE
Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

CPP shares people's disgust at Arroyo's lavish feast
August 9, 2009

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) expressed today the utter disgust it shares with the Filipino people upon learning of the lavish $20,000 (equivalent to 1 million in Philippine pesos) banquet that Gloria and Mike Arroyo and their junketing clique indulged themselves in at a plush New York restaurant last August 5 at the expense of the impoverished and hungry mass of their countrymen.

The CPP said "Not only the Filipino people but even Americans and other people around the world have been shocked at such scandalous display of ostentation, be it in celebration of the First Couple's wedding anniversary and the puppet Arroyo's finally getting an audience with her new imperialist master, or simply because they wanted to splurge and throw away the people's money, feeling like monarchs with the people at their feet."

"Such gross extravagance and insensitivity of the Philippines' Marie Antoinette and her cohorts in the midst of a grave economic crisis and widespread poverty and hunger constitute a vicious act of violence against the people and only serves to fuel the people's revolt against her greedy, rotten, abusive and oppressive rule," the CPP said further.
 

           
           
   

 

NEWS RELEASE
14 August 2009

For Reference:
REP. LUZ C. ILAGAN 0920-9213221
Abby Valenzuela (Public Information Officer) 0915-7639619

GABRIELA SOLON SLAMS GMA FOR “PICKING” ON THE MEDIA OVER DINNER MESS

Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luz Ilagan on Friday slammed the Arroyo government for brazenly “picking” on the media in an attempt to save itself from the million-peso- dinner controversy it is mired in.

“The Arroyo government has found a convenient, albeit obviously desperate, escape route by accusing the media of being hypocrites. It is a case of killing the messenger ,” Ilagan said.

“They’ve been caught and are now facing a dead-end,” Ilagan added. “Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies have tried every twist and turn but failed to get themselves out of the ditch they themselves dug.”

Ilagan said that no feeble excuse such as claiming that the presidential entourage were merely guests of a rich businessman or accusing the media of pretending to be innocent of similar acts could save Mrs. Arroyo from another scandal.
 

 

 

 

“Any way you look at it, what she (Mrs. Arroyo) did was immoral . No president of a country who sincerely empathizes with her people would selfishly dine out in an expensive restaurant offering food and drinks with prices that could buy poor families complete meals for a day, especially at this time of economic crisis.”
 

While deeply angered, the Gabriela solon said she was not surprised by this latest bullying from the Arroyo government.

“It has been a practice of the Arroyo government to point fingers every time it gets caught in a lie or placed in a tight situation, with the media as a convenient scape goat.”

Ilagan recalled the various forms of harassment the members of the media have suffered in the hands of Mrs. Arroyo, the First Gentleman and friends – libel charges, intimidation, physical, emotional and economic threats, among others – “ to intimidate the members of the Fourth Estate who are only doing their job or to divert the public's attention from the latest knot in a long string of controversies the Arroyo government is notorius for."

“Let us not forget that it is during this regime that the number of journalists killed in the country reached proportions that rival that of the Marcos dictatorship, making the Philippines the most dangerous place in which to become a journalist, next only to Iraq,” Ilagan said.

   

 

 

Treat - A video by May Day Productions

From Pinoy Weekly:

Luho ni Gloria, ‘hindi lang propaganda’

May kasaysayan ng luho ang Pangulo, na biglang yaman simula nang maupo sa puwesto. Kinukuwenta na rin ng iba't ibang grupo ang dapat sanang pinaggastusan sa halip na isang mamahaling hapunan sa New York.

 

 

 
 

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