US ‘very proud’ to be allied with Aquino’s ‘honest’ government—Thomas
As President Benigno Aquino III headed home from Washington, US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. heaped praise on his administration for bringing back “honesty” in governance.
Speaking Thursday in Manila at a judicial conference on human trafficking, Thomas said Mr. Aquino and senior members of his Cabinet had brought about greater openness and transparency.
“When I opened the papers this morning, I saw President Aquino sitting next to President Obama in New York as one of the presidents invited because you now [have] an open and transparent government,” Thomas told his audience of select justices of the Court of Appeals.
White House visited twice
He said it was the reforms that had led Obama to invite Mr. Aquino to attend the launch of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative by eight countries to fight graft, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.
Thomas said even Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was invited by the US president to the White House twice—in January and July—to take part in the OGP.
“And that is why President Aquino was selected as one of the major new presidents to meet with President Obama and the Brazilian president—the transparency and openness that he has brought, together with his senior Cabinet, to government,” Thomas said, adding:
“That is why we are very proud to be able to align ourselves with an honest government.”
Thomas also said the Philippines had “overcome” the dark period in its history that started on Sept. 21, 1972, when the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law.
“This week … is the 39th anniversary of [the imposition of] martial law. It’s not the finest hour of the Philippines or the United States, but it has been overcome,” the envoy said.
Originally posted at 01:40 pm | Thursday, September 22, 2011
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