Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. VI, No. 21      July 2 - 8, 2006      Quezon City, Philippines








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Gov’t employees unions file impeach raps vs GMA
‘Our Boss Must Be Impeached’

Organized government 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.”


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


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 impeached.”

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.


The impeachment 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% kickback.

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 the government.”

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 corruption.)

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.

The 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.

The government 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.”

These include 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 companies.

Not spared

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 in the 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.


Government employees 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 what 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 speech. Bulatlat



© 2006 Bulatlat  Alipato Media Center

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