Gloria Macapagal Arroyo House allies also taunted ‘KKK’
Look who’s talking.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II on Thursday said the opposition lawmakers who wanted some of President Benigno Aquino III’s “kakampi, kaklase and kabarilan” (party mates, classmates and shooting buddies) investigated by Congress were themselves “KKK.”
Speaking at a joint press conference with Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Gonzales said some of the accusers were “kongressman, kasama and kabiyahe” (congressmen who were mainstays of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s entourage in her trips abroad).
“Weren’t those complaining now like that before? Everything’s equal at this point,” he said.
Gonzales said there was nothing wrong with Mr. Aquino’s appointing his own “KKK” for as long as these people were qualified.
“Friends are always the comfort zone of a president. That was also the case in the previous administration,” he pointed out.
He also said it would not do for the President to add another “K”—as in “kalaban” (enemy)—to his official family.
He added that it was the reality (“talagang ganoon”) for the President to name an ally or party mate to a high post, and named Mar Roxas, the newly appointed transportation secretary, as an example.
Roxas, president of the Liberal Party, was Mr. Aquino’s defeated running mate in the 2010 elections.
Gonzales said the minority bloc led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman should file charges in the appropriate agencies if it had evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the President’s friends.
Belmonte said he agreed with Gonzales but stopped short of calling the minority names.
“I’m just being polite. I’m not supposed to say these things,” he said, laughing.
But Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, a known supporter of the Arroyo administration, said Mr. Aquino should step down for appointing his friends and allies to high posts.
“He should resign,” Pueblos said in a phone interview, when asked to comment on the House minority’s claim that cronyism had become rampant under the Aquino administration.
“It will be the Philippines governed by the friends of P-Noy,” the bishop said, referring to Mr. Aquino by his preferred nickname. “So better change him. [I] tell P-Noy, just leave your office and let somebody reign as President and not just the presidential friends.”
Bishop Pueblos questioned Mr. Aquino’s resolve to fulfill his duty as President.
“He is not interested to be President. I can see that. He does not plan, does not study, does not make his own decision, and just lets his friends [make] it. Poor Philippines,” Pueblos said, adding:
“In the first place, he does not want to be President … He was just forced because the mother died, and so on and so forth. He was just forced by circumstance. So what happened?”
Working for ouster
Pueblos warned that rising discontent with Mr. Aquino’s governance might lead to his ouster.
“There are people who are … seriously working for it. So I’ll just be waiting for them to share the result of their output and see what really is best for the Philippines without bloodshed and without violence,” he said.
Pueblos made similar statements in an interview early Thursday over the Church-run Radyo Veritas, a transcript of which was sent by the station to reporters.
“He is not really worthy to be President. That job is not for him. The earlier he [is] out of his post, [the] better for the Philippines,” Pueblos said.
Asked if he thought Mr. Aquino would eventually be ousted, the bishop said: “That’s a huge possibility but we have to follow [a] certain process.
“There are groups that are actually preparing for his ouster from his post.”
The Catholic Church and the President have been at loggerheads over his position favoring the passage of the controversial reproductive health bill.
Pueblos, 68, has been bishop of Butuan since 1995. His diocese covers the two Agusan provinces.
In March 2008, Pueblos led Mindanao bishops in declaring their opposition to calls for then President Arroyo’s resignation.
A militant lay group, the Promotion of Church People’s Response, accused him of being Arroyo’s “spokesman” and “apologist.”
In October 2008, Pueblos warned that Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, the then president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, might be replaced for not being “extra careful” and not consulting all bishops before joining calls for Arroyo’s resignation.
In January 2010, Pueblos opposed Mr. Aquino’s creation of a truth commission that would have investigated the scandals and corruption cases during Arroyo’s administration. With a report from Philip C. Tubeza
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