Philippine President's Lobbying Contract Revealed

In a report for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Malou Mangahas reveals that in late July 2005, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo entered into a $75,000 per month contract for lobbying services with Venable, a Washington D.C. law firm. The contract specifies that Venable's work will include "securing grants and congressional earmarks for Charter change." Mangahas notes that Venable will also lobby for "Philippines re-inclusion in the credit facilities of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, secure a Philippine credit ratings upgrade in the US Eximbank, 'create a capability enhancement program for the Armed Forces' and acquire up to $800 million in credit under the U.S. Defense Loan Guarantee program, and 'achieve a similar upgrade program' for the Philippine National Police." The chairman of the Philippine Senate committee on ways and means, Senator Ralph Recto, defended the contract. "Lobbying is a necessity, not a luxury," he told the Manila Standard Today.