FRETILIN requests President Ramos-Horta to initiate investigation into unintended publication of rec

FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE

FRETILIN

Media release
10 August 2008

The President of Timor-Leste’s largest and historic party FRETILIN,
Francisco Guterres “Lu Olo” today called upon President Dr. José
Ramos-Horta to order an investigation into why the Revised Budget Law
(also known as the rectifying budget) was sent by his office to the
parliament, and then subsequently published in the official gazette,
thereby bringing it into law, against the President’s declared
intentions.

A Public Communiqué issued from the President’s Office on the 6th of
August 2008, when the President was already overseas stated, that
prior to his departure the President delivered a speech to the nation,
in which he informed the nation that he would await the decision of
the Court of Appeal regarding a request for a ruling as to the
constitutionality of the rectifying budget, before making a decision
on whether or not to promulgate it.

The Communiqué added that: “The President of the Republic left very
clear instructions to his office to send the rectifying budget for
publication only if the decision of the Court of Appeal declared that
the law was in conformity with all the requirements of the
constitution.”

Lu Olo said, “The President’s own words, televised to the nation on
the 5th of August 2008, and confirmed by the President’s Office
Communiqué on the 6th of August, the following day, were that he left
clear instructions that the rectifying budget was not to be sent for
publication with the official gazette.

“It was clear that this is what he had in mind when he spoke to the
people. We do not believe for one moment the President would have
spoken those words whilst intending to do the exact opposite. Despite
this manifest intent, others in his office took actions contrary to
his clear instructions and sent it on for official publication.

According to Lu Olo this is a very serious situation for FRETILIN, for
the nation’s democratic institutions and the Timorese people. He added
that FRETILIN did not blame the President, because it believed he left
clear and explicit instructions with his office before leaving on his
overseas trip.

“However, we do not have confidence in others who work in the Office
of the President of the Republic. We have grave reservations about
their loyalty to the President and their political impartiality to be
working in such a high office,” Lu Olo said.

“We are very lucky that these suspect actions are such that may be
fixed with the good will and cooperation of other institutions of our
state. But we have to ask, what if it involved something more
serious, something that could not be so easily reversed or rectified,
such as a declaration of stage of siege or a declaration to dissolve
parliament? Then what? The President had done all he could to ensure
his intent was clear and that his actions would not impact negatively
upon the nation, but even this could not safeguard a serious error
from occurring.”

“We cannot simply leave this matter as it is. It is important for us
that state institutions know the truth of what actually happened. We
have to know clearly whether this was the result of human error or
whether there was some more deliberate act or omission to pervert the
expressed will and intent of the President, to usurp his duties and
powers. An in depth investigation must occur into this matter and
FRETILIN give its full support to the President in initiating an
appropriate legal investigation,” Lu Olo added.

Lu Olo also emphasized that “this was not just a matter of an
administrative issue in the President’s Office, but a matter of great
importance to the government, the parliament, political parties and
the people who need to have confidence that the highest office in the
land is functioning legally and constitutionally, not to mention with
administrative efficiency, whoever the President is or will be.”

For more information, please contact Jose Teixeira: +61 438 114 960
(Australia), +670 728 7080 (Dili, Timor-Leste)

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