Solon wants Deputy Speaker kicked out

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — A RANKING official of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino yesterday denied the administration party had a policy of giving financial assistance to members and non-members.

He also said Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa should be sanctioned for claiming the money given to congressmen during a breakfast meeting in Malacañang came from Kampi.

Speaking in a media forum, Ayes and Nays, Kampi regional chairman Rep. Joey Solis of Sorsogon said that the party does not have enough funds to financially assist even its members.

In fact, Solis said, each member contributes P5,000 every month just to have a revolving fund for expenses during the group’s regular meetings.

“I don’t know where Congresswoman Villarosa got that money. As far as the party is concerned, we have no funds for that,” Solis said, as he stressed that the party is willing to show to the public its financial statement.

Solis urged party leaders to call a meeting and discuss what should be done against Villarosa.

The solon said he will suggest to the party to sanction Villarosa for misleading the public and putting the party in bad light.

“Hindi alam ng partido ang sinasabi ni Congresswoman Villarosa. Kung may paraan lang ako, aalisin ko siya sa party,” Solis added.

Meanwhile, neophyte Rep. Thomas Dumpit Jr. of La Union denied accepting money from Villarosa, as he clarified that what he received from Malacañang are projects.

During the plenary session Tuesday night, the House of Representatives approved the motion of Sorsogon Rep. Sonny Escudero calling for an investigation into the money distribution.

The House referred the matter to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges led by Romblon Rep. Jesus Madrona.

In a radio interview, Villarosa said that she is willing to be investigated by Madrona’s committee.

‘Left out’

Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, who is also Kampi national chairman, yesterday said he “felt left out” with regard the party’s cash-giving to at least two congressmen.

“It really disturbed me. I am out of the loop (with regard to) these things. Syempre hindi ako masaya,” Puno told a press briefing in Malacañang.

Puno said it was only on Wednesday that Villarosa informed him the money came from Kampi funds and she was the one who gave it to La Union Rep. Tomas Dumpit Jr. and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr.

He said he is willing to face any investigation but only to speak for himself about the issue. It is up to the party leadership if there is a need to discipline or sanction anybody over the incident, he added.

With this development, Puno apologized to Speaker Jose de Venecia for his earlier statement that the controversial money came from the latter’s office.

Puno however stressed that it is “highly unlikely” the President or anyone in Malacañang knew anything about the cash-giving.

So, what else is new?

This was how opposition senators viewed the “admission” of Villarosa of being person who handed out small paper bags containing huge amounts of money to congressmen who attended a meeting in Malacañang.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said that the administration has been caught by its mouth. “Lying has become official policy. Some governors lied. Some representatives lied. Lying tatters their remaining credibility. More lies, more problems,” he said.

“Nakaugalian na ng gobyernong Arroyo ang magsinungaling na parang iniinsulto parati ang intelligence ng mga Filipino. Kapag hindi pumasa ang isang script of lies, papapalitan nila ito na parang walang nangyari,” said Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Sen.Francis Escudero noted that when Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno was interviewed after the incident, he said he did not know about the distribution of money.

“Now (Rep.Amelita) Villarosa (House deputy speaker for women) is saying that he (Puno) did (know about the distribution of money) and that they gave party funds to non-party members. As the saying goes, more talk more mistakes. Nobody believes the claim which to say the least is a mere afterthought,” Escudero said.