Gov’t employees unions file impeach raps vs GMA
‘Our Boss Must Be
employees were among those who filed impeachment charges against their
boss, no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom they claimed
engaged in graft and corruption. As government workers, they have
compiled evidence on various forms of corruption, inside what they called
the “belly of the vulture.”
BY AUBREY SC MAKILAN
IMPEACHING THE BOSS:
Ferdinand Gaite of Courage leads government employees in filing an
impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the
House of Representatives, June 27
PHOTO BY AUBREY SC MAKILAN
“Mga kawani (ng
gobyerno) na ang nagsasalita na dapat nang patalsikin ang amo namin.”
(We government employees are now the ones saying our boss must be
Thus said Ferdinand
Gaite, national president of the Confederation of Unions for the
Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), referring
to the restiveness in their rank. Gaite said Courage has about 300,000
members among the 1.4 million government workforce.
On June 27, Gaite led
government employees unions under Courage in signing the impeachment
complaint against their boss, no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Government employees can provide a lot of evidence to prove the corruption
charges filed against the president, he said.
Gaite also said the
national board of the National Food Authority Employees
Association-Courage has approved a resolution that allows the organization
to be a signatory to the complaint.
complaint’s three main charges against the president are graft and
corruption, exercise of “dictatorial powers” and
crimes against humanity.
“Respondent (the president) engaged in graft and corruption, entered into
illegal government contracts and criminally concealed her conjugal
assets,” it said.
The complaint said the president “used government offices, personnel, and
funds immediately before and during the 2004 election period to buy votes,
unlawfully promote her candidacy and ensure her victory.”
Among these were:
Illegal use of public funds for the unlawful transformation of
Philhealth cards into prohibited campaign materials by making said cards
bear her name and picture to ensure her electoral victory;
Illegal use of P4-6 billion of public funds in October 2003 “under the
guise of purported but incongruently massive road construction and
maintenance projects from Aparri to Jolo” where placards and billboards
bearing the president’s name and face were used;
Illegal use and disbursement of the 2003 and 2004 budget allocations of
the deactivated Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) and of
the streamlined National Electrification Administration (NEA) for her
presidential campaign fund;
Illegal use and disbursement of the road users’ tax and the fertilizer
funds under the so-called Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) program for
her presidential campaign fund. For this, Jocelyn Bolante was appointed
Agriculture Undersecretary allegedly “to orchestrate and implement” the
use of P728 million fertilizer funds; and
Entering into the “grossly inflated”
North Luzon Railway Project (Northrail), worth
US$503 million, of which the president allegedly obtained a 25%
The complaint further said that the president “persists in staying in
office and in holding on to power at all costs, in the process enriching
herself, her family, friends and allies at the expense of the government
and the public.” It added that she also “approved, allowed, and
countenanced contracts that were manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to
Gaite said it was not
surprising that high government officials, like the so-called Hyatt 10,
already resigned while concerned military officials and rank-and-file
soldiers remain restive.
“Kaming mga kawani
na nasa loob ng bituka ng buwitre, nakikita namin mismo sa loob ang
maraming katiwalian,” he said. (We government workers are the ones
inside the vulture’s belly, and we are witness to all kinds of
Aside from the
NorthRail and fertilizer funds scams, he also said they are preparing
evidence on similar cases involving funds of the Government Service and
Insurance System and SouthRail project.
complaint stated that when the electoral fraud and corruption were
discovered and exposed, the president allegedly “committed unlawful acts
to conceal her criminal acts, violating the powers of congress, repressing
the freedom of speech, of the press and of assembly, denying the people
their right to access for information on matters of public concern and
countenancing massive human rights violations – all to prevent the
exposure and investigation into her unconstitutional acts.”
These unlawful acts
included the Presidential Proclamation 1017, calibrated preemptive
response, and Executive Order 464, the complaint said.
employees’ complaint alleged that the president “concealed ownership of
various properties and business interests pertaining to her and her
spouse” in her Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) in
February 2001, “and willfully failed to pay the taxes due on these
properties and the income derived from them.”
properties in California, United States of
America and Caloocan City, Jose Pidal accounts allegedly owned by First
Gentleman Jose Miguel T. Arroyo, and business interests in various
Gaite lamented that
even government employees are also victims of political killings and
“dictatorial powers” of the president.
Aside from the CPR
and PP 1017 allegedly used by the Arroyo administration as justification
for “violently dispersing” protesters who include restive government
employees, he cited a case at the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE)
where the employees union was called “destabilizer” by no less than former
Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas.
Gaite cited the case
of Albert Terredano, Department of Agrarian Reform-Abra Courage chapter,
who was killed on Nov. 5, 2005. Terredano was being groomed to be the
Courage provincial coordinator at the time of his killing.
He also cited other
alleged repressive issuances such as Executive Order 366, which resulted
widespread streamlining of government agencies, which result to
lay-offs of employees.
In October last year,
Arroyo issued Executive Order (EO) No. 366 “directing a strategic review
of the operations and organizations of the executive branch and providing
options and incentives for government employees who may be affected by the
rationalization of the functions and agencies of the executive branch.”
Aside from job
security issues, many government employees also experience unfair labor
practices and union busting, Gaite said.
He said they can
sense that even the additional wages will be given in installment.
Government had approved a P25 wage hike instead of P125 across-the-board,
nationwide wage increase for private workers and P1,000 instead of the
P3,000 for government employees.
Gaite added that they
last received a five percent increase in salary in 1999, amounting to only
about P240 a month.
unions will revive and strengthen the Rise All Government Employees 2
Resign Arroyo (RAGE 2 Resign), which was formed for last year’s first
impeachment bid, and the Public Servants (P.S. Defend Civil liberties)
formed this March. Gaite said the P.S. Defend Civil Liberties was formed
by about 40 government union representatives who believe that the
president has committed culpable violation of the Constitution.
Gaite said the
Constitution only prohibits government employees from engaging in
electioneering or partisan political activities during election time.
“Nothing in the
Constitution bars us as, ordinary Filipinos, to express our legitimate
grievances,” he said.
Aside from planned
regular lunch protests, Gaite said they are considering actions similar to
Ma. Teresa Pangilinan did. On April 21, toga-clad Pangilinan led a
group of protesting graduates of Cavite State University (CvSU) who stood
up, unfurled a red banner and chanted slogans while Arroyo was giving her
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© 2006 Bulatlat
Alipato Media Center
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