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Tonio Borg: ‘I was surprised at Pullicino Orlando’s vote’

Deputy prime minister says PN was under impression ‘everything was right’ before Pullicino Orlando’s declaration in parliament that he would vote in favour of Opposition motion.

Matthew Vella
19 June 2012, 12:00am
Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando entering the House on Monday evening. Photo: Ray Attard/Mediatoday.
Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando stepped out of an agreed line of action on Monday evening, deputy prime minister Tonio Borg said on PBS breakfast show TVAM, after the MP voted in favour of an Opposition motion that resulted in the resignation of Richard Cachia Caruana, the permanent representative to the EU.

"I was surprised at the vote of Pullicino Orlando, because he did say - publicly - that he would not vote for the motion. The impression was that everything was right," Borg said.

Pullicino Orlando's vote in favour of the Labour motion was accompanied by an abstention from Jesmond Mugliett, who said Malta's reactivation of Partnership for Peace - which Labour claimed was reactivated without the House's approval in a strategy devised by Cachia Caruana - should have been discussed within the parliamentary group and the House itself.

Borg said that although the vote was lost, the government would still continue governing as long as its electoral mandate allowed it to do so.

But he did not go any further into internal party proceedings against Pullicino Orlando, who on Monday said he had met with Richard Cachia Caruana at the MP's house earlier last month and that there was no personal discord between the two men.

"It's not a matter of discipline," Borg said when asked whether any disciplinary steps will be taken against Pullicino Orlando. "Everyone in parliament is free to vote as he wishes. There are consequences that follow," Borg said.

Pullicino Orlando, whose political vicissitudes have included being accused by Labour leader Alfred Sant of using his influence to obtain a planning permit; thwarting Richard Cachia Caruana's own plan to push with an extension of the St John's Cathedral; the introduction of divorce; and now prompting the resignation of Cachia Caruana; has declared he will not contest the next general elections.

"There is no doubt that there was something personal," shadow foreign minister George Vella said on TVAM. "But what certainly emerged was Cachia Caruana's public profile was a larger than life one."

Vella denied any knowledge of any contact with the MP and the Opposition prior to the vote. "The aim of this motion was that the supremacy of parliament could not be ignored. I am convinced we had a genuine case."

Borg said Cachia Caruana's resignation was an "ugly precedent" for civil servants who served the country and followed ministers' orders.

The resignation motion was prompted by US embassy cables published by Wikileaks back in 2011, which gave the impression that Cachia Caruana was advocating the reactivation of Partnership for Peace documents signed with Malta in 1996 to avoid going to the parliament and face a divisive vote. Cachia Caruana was grilled in the foreign affairs committee by Labour and government MPs, and told the committee he had been unaware that Lawrence Gonzi would reactivate PfP in 2008, after the general election, when parliament was still in dissolution.

Matthew Vella is editor and MaltaToday on Sunday.

He joined Mediat...
George Naudi
Qarrej. JM gave a free vote till you had some of LP wings clipped such as MPs such as marie Louise Coliero or the latest MP who was sidelined and after coming out in public the LP made it look like he went out on holiday and the lost sheep returned. Re the electoral manifest, kindly as JM to change the constitution if you believe it better, or more so we abolish parliament, save wages, hours of valuable time and write all in the manifest and we are solved. What is wrong for one is wrong for the other.
Jessica Smith
rajah your anacronym speaks loudly when recompiled.
Jessica Smith
neutral01 if ti is in the electoral manifesto the people had voted for it and the people are supreme because the MPs are their servants.
Jessica Smith
neutral01 WRONG. Joseph Muscat gave a FREE vote to the PL MPs
Michael Fenech
I want to congratulate JPO, (and partly Jesmond Mugliett too) for being the ONLY one out of all the government MPs who had the balls to kick the cardinal out, although I do understand the situation of other nationalist MPs, who still have a future in politics! To Franco I just quote the Maltese saying : 'Kelb li jinbaħ, ma jigdimx!' You really showed us that you were only after something, and by voting against Dr.C.Mifsud Bonnici, you mproved that it was a personal vendetta. Why you didn't vote against Austin or the Cardinal? Now you have lost all possible credibility you might have achieved, and you should forget politics within the 2 major parties! Of course I agree 100% with JPO, it was his last and only chance to stop this type of arrogance seen from a top civil servant, who was acting like a prime minister, and the actual prime minister was his secretary! Well done to the majority of the house! Is-sewwa rebaħ!!!!!!!
eddy privitera
John Farrugia
GonziPN is loosing ground all the time and has the audacity to say that his Government continues until the electorate mandate ends. OK, go ahead Mr. Prime Minister, ruin Malta with uncertainty, lavish favours to those who will vote for the Government...the list goes on. Well done GonziPN for ruining our country.
Jista' Dr. Borg jaghtina xi hjiel minfejn gab is-sahha li ghandu RCC ?. Ghaliex dan il-poter fuq il-PN ?. Tghid kien l-attakk fuq hajtu li tah dan il-poter sproporzjonat?. L-indikazzjonijiet kollha juru li min ipprova joqtlu huwa maghruf sewwa. Dan stqarru habib personali ta' RCC li gharaf lil min attakkah. Min ried li jitwettaq dak il-qtil ?. Min ried jehles minn RCC ?.U ghaliex ?. Nafu li min inghata zewg mahfriet inqabad jigdeb ghal darba tnejn fil-qorti . Isa, Dr. Borg,nahseb li m'intix sajjem minn certi nformazzjoni dwar dan !. Forsi hasbu li billi tawh xi tletin elf Lira Maltin kienu ser jaghlqulu halqu ?. Imma jidher li dak l-attakk viljakk iktar sahhahlu jdejh !!. U ghalhekk dik is-sahha kollha li jidher li ma jista' ghalih hadd......minbarra l-Parlament !!
George Naudi
Qarrej do you remember not so long ago when Joseph Muscat told his MPs during the divorce vote that they have to vote YES ot take responsibility for their actions? or is it convenient to forget. Now to his holiness Hon George Vella. Dan biss serjeta. "The aim of this motion was that the supremacy of parliament could not be ignored. I am convinced we had a genuine case." May i kindly remind him that when taking out Malta from PfP he was duty bound to get it approved by parliament. Raising the issue on an electoral manifest does not make it the Holy Grail. Should the electoral manifest become the Holy Grail should a political party state it wishes to make a military base on the Maltese Islands in an electoral manifest means the party can bypass parliament and constitution? The honourable thing to do Hon.Vella is at least to apologise to the nation and admit that you "IGNORED THE SUPREMACY OF PARLIAMENT".
Jien bhal Tonio Borg kont sorpriz, ghax stennejt lil Dr Franco li jivvota favur il-mozzjoni daqs kemm tkaza b'RCC. GonziPN qed jahsad dak li zera. Dan kien vot car li wera n-nuqqas ta kapacita' tat-tmexxija ta' Dr Gonzi. Il-Prim Ministru haga wahda ghandu jghid "mia culpa, mia maxima culpa". Ma ghandux ghax jghid kulhadd jerfa' r-responsabilta ta eghmilu. Dawn nies li issa ddejqu jigu mghaffga u msebillha minn shabhom stess. Sur Prim Ministru, issa inti meta se terfa r-responsabilta tieghek?
Upstairs/Downstairs - Downstairs won.
Jes Abela
JPO - are you proud now? Vendetta at its best!!!! Dawn huma il politakanti ta Malta? TAl Misthija JPO. Taf tisthi jew ahjar tikkumiedja izjed?
I was more surprised myself that Dr Franco Debono voted with the government after all they hype he made on the oligarchy he campaigned for such a long time and the frequent mention of RCC as the hand behind this oligarchy. / Dr Debono got what he wanted – the head of Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici. / Now anything else for him is of no importance. I started believing in the man, but his U-turn on the RCC vote changed my opinion on him.
Christian Thorn
Why the surprise? Has Tonio Borg ever logged in to Ms. DCG 's ( practically RCC's mate) BLOG or should I say Cess Pit? Has Dr. Borg ever got a mention like JPO and his acquaintances got in this Blog? JPO had every right to vote the way he did, he got elected, he is an ELECTED MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT AND HE HAS THE RIGHT TO EXPRESS HIS OPINION WITH HIS VOTE! Why the surprise?
Jessica Smith
"It's not a matter of discipline," Borg said when asked whether any disciplinary steps will be taken against Pullicino Orlando. "Everyone in parliament is free to vote as he wishes. There are consequences that follow," Borg said. SP HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE FREE TO VOTE WHEN YOU THEN THREATEN JPO WITH DISCIPLINARY ACTION?
Jessica Smith
"Borg said that although the vote was lost, the government would still continue governing as long as its electoral mandate allowed it to do so." Imbghad jiehdu ghalihom jekk jghidulhom li huma mkahhlin mas-siggu tal-poter!!!!!!! Isthu jekk tafu tisthu. Imma kif lanqas qatra zejt ma baqghalkom f'wicckom?
michael sant
Mela ... la bhalissa qieghdin fil-EURO 2012 ... gonzipn l-ewwel gie draw u refghu minn xagharu r-referee ..... imbaghad tilef 1-0 .... il-bierah tilef 2-0 .... u fl-elezzjoni hemm cans kbir jitlef 5-0 ..... u ghalhekk dik il-fernezija kollha fost il-klikka ..... u issa la se jsib ruhu bla xoghol (miskin) il-bravu RCC se jkollu cans mhux hazin ikompli jikkonfoffja ma' shabu biex jaraw lil min se jaghtu dar, promozzjoni, permess, pjacir, koncessjoni, mahfra ... insomma kulma jistghu jaghtu biex jigbru l-vot ... forsi jqassmu l-fridges jew it-televisions jew il-cookers jew il-PV panels .... min jaf ... kollox jghodd .....
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