Lacson on Palace’s ‘Private Time’: It’s Propriety, Stupid!

“It’s propriety, stupid!”

On this note, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson trashed Friday Malacañang’s latest attempt to shield Mrs. Arroyo from having to explain her meeting with officials of ZTE Corp. during a side trip to China in November 2006. 

Lacson was referring to outgoing presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye’s attempt to fend off questions about the meeting by claiming it was part of Mrs. Arroyo’s “private time.”

“Malacañang cannot or simply refuses to see the point we are raising. Whether it’s her private time or official, she had already cheated her way to Malacañang and therefore represents 89 million Filipinos wherever she goes,” Lacson said.

He noted that at the time of the meeting, ZTE Corp. took part in the bidding for the Philippine government’s national broadband network project.

Under such circumstances, he said that at best, it would be improper for Mrs. Arroyo to meet with representatives of a bidder, as it sends a “signal” to the other bidders.

The only viable explanation for such impropriety, he said, would be if someone stood to gain a big “tong-pats (profit)” from the meeting.

On the other hand, Lacson questioned Malacañang’s use of “private time” as its latest weapon in refusing to explain the meeting between Mrs. Arroyo and the ZTE officials.

He noted the Palace had already twisted the principle of executive privilege to thwart the Senate from looking into the $329.48-million ZTE broadband network deal mess.

“Malacañang has the propensity to invent new doctrines in governance. What executive order will it issue now to justify such act of impropriety, presidential private time when committing a crime?” he asked.