Arroyos feel vindicated by Cayetano’s suspension

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Members of the First Family felt vindicated by the recommendation of the House committee on ethics to “punish” Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, who accused them of keeping secret bank accounts in Germany.

First Gentleman Mike Arroyo said he took comfort that he and his family have been proven innocent and that “Cayetano’s accusations were revealed to be nothing but scurrilous and brazen lies.” He also thanked the members of the House for “standing up for truth and justice.”

Presidential Son Dato Arroyo, who filed the second misconduct case against Cayetano, expressed elation over the House panel’s decision.

It only showed that Cayetano was “lying all along,” Dato said. Although the punishment of suspension was quite lower than expulsion, he said he was “happy” over it.

During his 45-day suspension because of his improper conduct and unparliamentary behavior, Cayetano will forego his allowances and benefits as a congressman.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte, who moved for the suspension of Cayetano, said it was time for the Taguig-Pateros lawmaker to stop peddling his accusations because he had no proof.

Cayetano accused the First Family of keeping multimillion- dollar deposits in the Hypo Vereins Bank in Munich.

A fact-finding mission led by ethics committee chairman Roberto Cajes obtained a Hypo Vereins Bank certification that debunked Cayetano’s charges.

“Now is the right time for Congressman Cayetano to stop talking about it,” said Villafuerte, who is also president of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s party, Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino.

Meanwhile, supporters of the First Family expressed relief that despite the dilatory tactics and stonewalling of Cayetano, the House committee on ethics was able to resolve the complaints against him with a guilty ruling.

Antique Rep. Exequiel Javier and Bohol Rep. Eladio Jala, a member of the ethics committee, noted how Cayetano tried to repeatedly delay the proceedings of the committee to prevent his suspension considering the lack of material time.

Javier said the ethics committee’s findings were a “condemnation” of Cayetano’s misbehavior and agreed that it was a vindication of the First Family.

“Despite Cayetano’s dilatory tactics, the ethics committee ultimately uncovered the truth behind his allegations. The fact-finding committee’s findings were crucial in settling the issue.

There’s no way he could belie the fact-finding committee’s report because this was supported by the bank certification of Hypo Vereins Bank officials that cleared the First Family,” said Javier.

Jala said that the panel had been fair to Cayetano as it afforded him due process. “The decision proved that Cayetano committed a grave misconduct and the ethics committee members would not tolerate this.”

The extended certification issued by the German bank officials strengthened the case against Cayetano, who miserably failed to prove his claims, Jala said.

But Cayetano insisted that the First Family was not yet off the hook, saying the case only reached a legal “stalemate” when 35 congressmen voted in favor of his suspension while only three voted against it.

“There was no vindication over the decision. There is only a legal stalemate but they are [Arroyos] still morally and politically accountable,” Cayetano said.