Solon dares Cayetano to go to Germany

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano was dared to join a fact-finding trip to Germany next week to prove his allegation that First Gentleman Mike Arroyo had a secret account in the HypoVereinsbank.

Rep. Jacinto Paras of Negros Oriental said Cayetano’s repeated failure to present proof of his charges or to accompany the ethics committee delegation to Germany would be taken as a sign of his bad faith and deliberate misuse of his office to malign the Arroyos just to gain mileage for his senatorial bid.

Paras also raised the possibility that Cayetano was afraid to go to Germany because of his legal liability for dragging the name of the German bank into a fictitious expose. He said Cayetano could well be slapped with a lawsuit from the bank with his refusal to apologize after the bank itself issued a letter denying the alleged bank account’s existence.

“What is he afraid of? If he truly believed the account of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo that he revealed on national TV exists, he would have already grabbed the opportunity to go to Germany and talk to the bank officials themselves. Di ba binibigyan na nga siya ng plane ticket ni FG? Perhaps he knows he will just be embarrassed if he goes or worse, he may even be slapped with a lawsuit for unfairly dragging the name of the bank into his political attack against the Arroyos.’’

Paras joined the call of several other ethics panel members to show proof of his allegations, saying that the House had already used taxpayers’ funds for several hearings while the ethics panel delegation to Germany will also be paid for by the House.

He said Cayetano was being unreasonable by asking the First Gentleman to sign a blanket waiver allowing the inspection of all his bank accounts, but he would support this call if Cayetano can show solid proof that the German account he alleged really exists.

Paras reminded Cayetano that as a lawyer and lawmaker, he was duty- bound to back up all his allegations with proof, especially for such a serious accusation as saying that the Arroyos possessed hidden accounts in Germany. “Or maybe because he is a lawyer, he knows he will only get in more legal hot water if he says anything more, hence, his use of the waiver issue to further cloud the controversy that he himself started.”

Paras also decried Cayetano’s ‘‘refusal’’ to directly answer the ethics case against him by presenting proof of his allegations. He noted that Cayetano instead discussed charges raised in the failed Pidal exposé of opposition Senator Panfilo Lacson which had already been discounted and shelved by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee.

The House ethics committee the other day stopped Cayetano from pursuing the cross-examination of the Arroyos on the expulsion case. Cayetano was asking questions that were out of line, lawmakers said.