PCCI chief denies WikiLeaks cable on Mike Arroyo

Posted at 09/07/11 1:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A prominent businessman on Tuesday denied accusing former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo of involvement in illegal gambling and corruption, contrary to a US diplomatic cable published by antisecrecy group WikiLeaks.

Chua, current president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said it was impossible for him to have accused Arroyo of wrongdoing.

"Being then the President of the Federation of the Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc., [FFCCCI] in the 2005, it is impossible and improbable, given the guiding principles of the Federation, that I could or would have made such disparaging statement," he said.

Cable 05MANILA2670, classified "Confidential" by US embassy Economic Counselor Robert Ludan and sent by then US Chargé d'Affaires Joseph Mussomeli, said, "[Chua] echoed [SGV founding partner Washington] Sycip's claim that the First Gentleman is a major problem with respect to corruption, pointing to his links to 'jueteng' and the many politicians and local officials involved in the illegal gambling racket."

"Chua added that the Chinese-Filipino community is losing confidence in the government, in particular the courts.  The FFCCCI maintains an internal settlement process to resolve disputes among member companies because members have so little trust in the court system.  This process is being used more frequently now as an increasing number of FFCCCI members see the courts as unreliable and unpredictable because of corruption," the cable added.

"Chua said this corruption will probably not create immediate instability for the government, but it does make it more and more difficult to sustain economic growth," the memo said.

In his press statement, Francis Chua misidentified the embassy official in whose name the cable was sent.

The memo showed it was approved by Mussomeli, while the PCCI president said, "if it is true Ambassador [Kristie] Kenney made the report, then she should clarify the statements she made."

"Throughout all the years of my business advocacy, my many friends would know that it is not in my character to engage in character assassination, or make negative and utterances. Instead, I have always espoused proper governance, high standards of personal and business ethics in all my undertakings," Chua said.

"My guiding principle has always been to support and help the Philippine Government, to evolve a vibrant economic climate that will attain progress and prosperity for our countrymen," he added.