Quezon Province Congressman Danilo Suarez paid for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's $15,000 dinner at Bobby Vans in New York and people are trying to understand why would someone pick up such a huge tab, even granting that the congressman is a close friend of the President's.
It can be said that there is no such thing as a free meal and there are always strings attached when favors are given.
In a transactional society, favors are traded over an expensive meals that is paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of 90 million starving Filipinos.
A friend has kept on defending President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's New York dinners which cost a total of $35,000. His main argument is that the amount of money spent was only fitting for a head of state that who was also celebrating her wedding anniversary. Moreover, he pointed out that one female blogger, who has been stinging the President on the issue of extravagant spending amidst the poverty of her country, had in fact received lavish treatment from some politician which included a foreign trip, shopping money, and gambling money.
He tried to bribe then Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman Richard Gordon years ago (around 1995) to get the radar contract for Subic International Airport.
When he lost the bid to American suppliers (Westinghouse) and the Germans(Alcatel) he hauled Gordon to Congress for an investigation.
Gordon exposed him as a loosing supplier during the hearings and demanded that the ethics committee investigate Suarez.
The House majority killed the motion.
Below is a PCIJ brief account.
ABS-CBN and GMA have footages of the comedic encounter during the hearing held at Rembrandt Hotel which is also owned by a Congressman.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
"XXXX....OF COURSE, other legislative prerogatives, such as the power to initiate investigations, have been used to further the business interests of some congressmen. One of the most memorable examples was three-term Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, a defense contractor and entrepreneur who also has considerable interests in trading and agribusiness. Suarez stirred a hornet's nest in the 10th and 11th House when his colleagues accused him of using his position to wangle contracts for his firms.
In the 10th House, Suarez called for an investigation of the purchase of radar systems by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). Suarez's company supplies radar systems, and during the investigation, the irked SBMA chief, Richard Gordon, pointed out that this could be the reason the inquiry was taking place at all. Congressmen also accused him of requesting the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to reopen the bidding for the P600-million Nationwide Airport Navigation Facilities Modernization program so that his company could make a bid for airport radar.
Another Suarez company has the contract to operating three parking lots at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The congressman also owns the Kayumanggi Restaurant at the airport. In 1998, he filed a resolution asking the House to investigate the awarding of a contract to a single corporation to run all the concession areas at the NAIA Terminal II, allegedly because his company was eying some of the concession areas at the terminal.
Suarez was banned from running for a fourth term in 2001 so his wife Aleta took his place in the House. Meanwhile, the former congressman, who was a staunch supporter of ousted President Joseph Estrada, was named by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the vice chair of the National Road Board, which looks into how the tax imposed on motor vehicles is spent.
As chair of the ways and means committee in the 11th Congress, Suarez was instrumental in the drafting of a law, passed in 2000, that imposed the same tax. It is not surprising that he has interests in road construction and road-safety businesses as well...XXX"
I've already said my peace on this topic, I guess. But I would really like to know what you think and perhaps, if we all take time thinking together, we can come up with a way to express that thought in a way that will forever change our country