Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Le Cirque and the New York Post Scoop that Ignited a Philippine Political Firestorm

Le Cirque
The New York Post (August 11, 2009)
The $20,000 dinner of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her entourage at LE CIRQUE in Manhattan irked not only her political adversaries but many other Filipinos including Catholic bishops. A brief article in today's issue of the New York Post updates the controversy surrounding the dinner. It was the New York Post's gossip column called Page Six that broke the story last week. Who really footed the bill remains unknown. The Inquirer reports that in the Philippines, two lawmakers have written a letter of complaint aiming to investigate whether officials violated Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct for Government Officials. This code stipulates public officials should “lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income” and not “engage in extravagant or ostentatious displays of wealth.”
Located at 151 East 58th Street near Lexington Avenue, Le Cirque sits on the bottom floor of the Bloomberg corporate headquarters and looks out over a stone courtyard surrounded by a curving façade of glass and steel. The building is not far from where I live and I have taken photos of the Christmas tree in the courtyard in the past without hassle. This time, however, I got yelled at for taking photos of Le Cirque by a security officer.
Benigno Aquino, Jr., the former Philippine senator whose assassination was pivotal in the people power revolution that led to the restoration of democracy had said, "Filipinos are worth dying for." Bloggers and tweeters recently spread the newly coined quotation for President Arroyo: "Filipinos are worth dining for."

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