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Anatomy of A Presidential ‘Mis-statement’

October 17, 2008

The Inquirer headlines it as a presidential booboo, that announcement by GMA  the other day that the W£orld Bank had committed at least $10-B for an economic crisis standby fund for the ASEAN countries which may be hard hit by the financial contagion that appears to have sent the mighty US economy into recession.

But what really caused Mrs. Arroyo to make the apparently erroneous assertion which the WB itself denied.

During the time of Pres. Fidel Valdez Ramos the buzz-phrase and operative initials were CSW or complete staff work. FVR was really such a stickler for CSW that presidential briefing folders where known to become airborne if the cigar-chomping ex-general found them wanting.

Today with technology being the order of the day, laptops are said to fly across rooms when someone gets mad.

But in fairness to both FVR, GMA, and all other top leaders, it is surely fair for them to expect CSW and absolutely accurate information from their subordinates. And this includes Cabinet members.

So who fouled up in the WB story?

The way the details are now emerging it looks like Finance Secretary Gary Teves has a lot of explaining to do when he returns to Manila . Corollary to this, the talk around town this weekend is also sure to focus on the “abuse of discretion” of the presidential alter egosin the botched MoA-AD and if they really acted on their own without full presidential authority or had not fully informed the President of the nitty-gritty of the unconstitutional enterprise.

The presidential mis-statement about the economic standby fund is peanuts compared to the possible presidential acts in the MoA-AD that some analysts consider a high crime against the Republic.

We have to watch closely in the coming days if any one will be man enough to take the fall in these two incidents which are both reflective of competent and honest governance.

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