Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Lawyers' Group dares Aquino to discipline officials who fed him wrong info

Manila Bulletin

A nationwide organization of lawyers dared President Aquino Monday to impose disciplinary action against officials of government responsible for feeding him wrong data that he used as bases for lambasting his predecessor in his State of the Nation Address (SoNA).

The National Association of Lawyers for Justice and Peace (NALJP) noted that the President’s credibility has been placed in serious jeopardy as a result of the wrong information he aired in his SoNA.

“Where is President Aquino getting his facts and figures? How can we be sure now of the accuracy and truth of whatever the administration will say?” the NALJP said in a statement sent to the media.

Headed by lawyer Jesus Santos, the NALJP raised theses questions as it noted the continued reversal of supposed irregularities revealed by Aquino in his SoNA.

“Clearly, President Aquino had shot at the former administration from the hip. What is our guarantee now that he won’t do it again and mislead the people for the second time,” the NALJP said.

The lawyers group noted that documents have been produced proving that P105 million out of P200 million in calamity funds, which had been allegedly given by former President Gloria Arroyo to her district in Pampanga, remains intact and undisbursed.

They said the release order for the funds was dated May 27 or more than two weeks after the May 10 polls, contrary to insinuations by Aquino that the money was aimed to help Mrs. Arroyo in her candidacy for congresswoman.

On the allegedly illegal housing project for MWSS personnel at the La Mesa Watershed, the NALJP pointed out that residents have faced the media with evidence of the legality of their homes.

“One resident even explained that the area covered by the housing project was no longer part of the watershed,” the group said.

They pointed out that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad himself described as incorrect Aquino’s claim that only P100 billion or about 6 percent of the P1.54 trillion national budget has been left behind by the Arroyo administration.

The NALJP said somebody must be held accountable for the lies in the SoNA.

“The people have a right to know who is responsible and why. If nobody will be held responsible, then this administration should not be surprised if its credibility will be highly suspect, to say the least,” the statement said.

It added: “This administration is supposed to be on a reform agenda. How come they have been caught lying and misleading the people this early?”

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