Philippine Congressman and former Speaker of the House, De Venecia, to Submit Call for GMA’s Impeachment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 3, 2008

CONTACT: Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN USA, 415.377.2599, rramiro@gmail.com

Rachel Redondiez, GABRIELA USA, 415.244.9734, amihan33@gmail.com

Former Speaker of the House to Sign Impeachment Complaint Against

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Filipino American Organizations Support Call for Impeachment

SAN FRANCISCO—On the eve of one of the most historic presidential elections in the United States, an impeachment complaint against President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will be signed today at the Philippine consulate in San Francisco. Philippine Congressman and former Speaker of the House Jose De Venecia will submit his formal written endorsement of the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo, on the grounds of her betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, and graft and corruption. Joining him will be members of BAYAN USA, GABRIELA USA, GMA Watch, and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), who support the impeachment complaint.

“Arroyo deserves to be impeached for the rampant human rights violations committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the widespread graft and corruption plaguing the government under her command,” said Rhonda Ramiro with BAYAN USA, a national alliance of progressive Filipino organizations. “The people have the right to call for justice and accountability from Arroyo, and to use all the tools at their disposal to hold her accountable. Impeachment is one of those tools,” Ramiro continued.

The impeachment complaint was filed on behalf of the Filipino people by 17 complainants, including the mothers of disappeared activists, witnesses to Arroyo’s acts of bribery, victims of human rights violations, and elected officials. Arroyo’s approval rating has plummeted over the past year, as corruption schemes involving the Arroyo family have been revealed, including the costly ZTE-National Broadband Network deal and millions in cash bribes paid to politicians in the Philippine Congress to win loyalty to the Arroyo clique and diffuse growing opposition movements. Since Arroyo assumed power in 2001, the Armed Forces of the Philippines have been implicated in the murders of over 900 activists and the disappearances of more than 200, in what is broadly believed to be a government-sanctioned campaign to silence its critics.

“Arroyo’s corruption bought her the presidency, and her failed economic policies mired the Filipino people in deeper poverty while filling her own bank accounts with millions of dollars,” said Rachel Redondiez with GABRIELA USA. “Arroyo then used extrajudicial killings and disappearances of activists to permanently silence her opposition, and she relied on tens of millions of dollars in aid from the U.S. government to prop up her regime.”

“It is ironic that as a new president is on the verge of being elected in the U.S., the president of the Philippines is being brought down,” commented Ramiro. “We hope that the newly elected president of the U.S. will support the Filipino people’s call for justice and self-determination, by withholding all aid from the corrupt Arroyo administration, withdrawing U.S. military personnel from the Philippines, and abrogating agreements between the two nations like the Visiting Forces Agreement which foster human rights abuses in the first place.”

The impeachment complaint will be signed at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco, 447 Sutter Street, at 2 PM today, Monday, November 2. For more information, contact Rhonda Ramiro, 415-377-2599.

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