PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — QUOTING a popular song of the late King of Pop Michael Jackson, “Man on the Mirror”, Malacañang taunted yesterday a high profile broadcaster to look at the mirror as it dispelled allegations that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over spent in her foreign trips since 2003 by about P1.6 billion.
Deputy presidential spokesman on economic matters Prof. Gary Olivar belied claims of Rep. Teofisto Guingona III of Bukidnon that the President spent more than the allowed allocated funding for her foreign and domestic travels.
Quoting records from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Olivar said that the President in 2008 only spent P233.8 million when the funding allowed is at P244.6 million for the Office of the President’s foreign trips abroad.
Also, Olivar made a dig at what he described as “the most deplorable calumnies against the President and her office” as he referred to a rhetorical question by a tv broadcaster who had his own problems with media publicity not too long ago in connection with Mrs. Arroyo’s alleged increasing low credibility.
“Tanong nila kay Undersecretary Anthony Golez: Ano ho ba ang pinaggagawa ninyo sa Office of the President at unti-unting nawawalan ng respeto ang maraming Pilipino sa tanggapan ng Pangulo?” Olivar said.
But Olivar urged the broadcaster- – whom he refused to identify but is easily none other than ABS CBN’s Ted Failon — for him to remember Jackson’s song and look at the man on the mirror and inquire on the presidential wannabe behind him, and whose agenda he is pushing.
He said that the foreign trips funding allow budget flexibility in case Mrs. Arroyo had indeed overspent in her travels.
Olivar urged critics and detractors of the Arroyo regime to be more fair, factual and more balanced in the practice of their profession.
The Palace official said that such qualities which are ideal for members of the Fourth Estate to consider which be beneficial to enhance decency, fairness and responsibility, and to uphold civility of discourse and the integrity of our institutions notably the Office of the President.
Earlier, Olivar cited the tangible results resulting from the foreign travels of Mrs. Arroyo including keeping the country not to be dragged down to recession amid the global financial downturn.
He said Mrs. Arroyo’s economic stimulus program is aimed at “ensuring for more people to get a slice of the pie and to look after those among us who are still getting only crumbs”.
Olivar noted too the economic rebound manifested by the improvements in revenues and earnings in the second quarter of such firms as PLDT, Globe, Banco De Oro, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and SM as well as the continued growth of OFWs remittances such as the MacQuarie Bank and the JP Morgan Securities have reversed their projections for positive growth this year.