Thursday, March 20, 2008

Truly an Easter Gift... From the Palace???

Palace congratulates Villarosa on ‘Easter gift’
INQUIRER.netFirst Posted 16:31:00 03/19/2008
MANILA, Philippines -- Malacañang congratulated former MindoroOccidental congressman Jose Villarosa for getting an "Easter gift" -- the decision of the Court of Appeals to overturn his conviction for murder.
"I can just congratulate them on their Easter gift," ExecutiveSecretary Eduardo Ermita said, referring to the former lawmaker, andhis wife, Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa of the House of Representatives.
"We are living by the rule of law. We have to respect the decision of the court," he said.
Ermita said the court's decision had nothing to do with the Villarosa couple's close ties with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.


Palace congratulates Villarosas, shrugs off rumors
By Christine AvendañoPhilippine Daily InquirerFirst Posted 03:31:00 03/20/2008
MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang shrugged off speculations that the acquittal of former Occidental Mindoro Rep. Jose Villarosa resulted from his and his wife’s closeness to President Macapagal-Arroyo.
“We are living by the rule of law,” said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, a former congressman, as he congratulated the Villarosa couple for the “Easter gift.”
Speculations were rife last year that Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa’s move to defend Malacañang from allegations that it bribed a number of members of the House of Representatives to kill an impeachment complaint against the President had something to do with her lobbying for her husband’s freedom.
At the height of the alleged payoff scandal, Villarosa said the funds received by House members and a number of governors belonging to her and Ms Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) party were the political party’s money.
Brown envelopes containing P500,000 were handed to the legislators and governors in Malacañang in October.
Villarosa, secretary of Kampi, is also a regular part of Ms Arroyo’s delegation on the President’s trips abroad—Spain last December and Davos, Switzerland last January.
Ermita said the speculations stemmed from the Deputy Speaker’s close working relationship with the President.
“It has nothing to do with the Court of Appeal’s [ruling] because in law, it’s better to release 99 percent of the criminals who had been brought to court than imprisoning just one percent who had not been proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” the executive secretary said.

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