Blogger says she only met Cachia Caruana in person 12 times since 2008
Blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia said this evening that even though she has known Richard Cachia Caruana for most of her adult life, she only met him in person about 12 times since the 2008 election.
In all but two of those occasions, she said, there were other people, including her husband.
Another two, around April 2009, involved Dr Pullicino Orlando and his consort, Carmen Camilleri Ciantar.
Mrs Caruana Galizia was referring to claims made by Dr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando in today's The Times, criticising her 'closeness' to Mr Cachia Caruana and saying it was unacceptable for high-ranking PN and government officials to 'cavort' with her when she 'disgustingly' derided Nationalist 'icons' like the late President Emeritus Guido de Marco.
Mrs Caruana Galizia said in a statement that this year, she met Mr Cachia Caruana three times. In the whole of last year, she met him twice, once while greeting each other as he left and she entered a Christmas drinks party at mutual friends.
"I do not think that even Dr Pullicino Orlando would describe this as cavorting. I can only think, therefore, that he is not familiar with the facts and has either been falsely informed or has formed an impression based on inadequate observation and on prejudice."
Mrs Caruana Galizia said she criticised all politicians without fear or favour, wherever she deemed fit, and this included the people Dr Pullicino Orlando described as icons of the Nationalist Party.
"I notice that he failed to mention the prime minister, who I have criticised many times, most notably on divorce and Libya, perhaps because he considers it acceptable for Mr Cachia Caruana to 'cavort', all of three times a year, with somebody who has criticised Lawrence Gonzi.
"It is not up to Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando to decide which politicians are allowed to speak to which journalists, and vice versa. Claiming quite disingenuously that his behaviour in parliament last Monday was based on his moral objection to Richard Cachia Caruana talking to journalists, when those journalists are critical of him and his 'icons', makes it clear that he has freedom of speech issues, of which intolerance of criticism is evident."
Mrs Caruana Galizia said Dr Pullicino Orlando also demonstrated that he did not know his obligations as a member of parliament.
"Those obligations include the duty to vote on the matter in hand – the contents of the motion – rather than for his own, apparently spurious, reasons. Dr Pullicino Orlando also needs to remember that he remains my representative in parliament, for I was one of those who voted for him. While a constituent can and should criticise the actions of her representative in parliament, because she put him there to do represent her, the roles cannot be reversed. A member of parliament cannot and should not use the platform given to him by his constituents to attack one or more of them."
She said she was particularly perplexed at Dr Pullicino Orlando's confused notion that Mr Cachia Caruana deserved the ultimate censure for the reasons he gave to The Times journalist.
"He has given different reasons elsewhere, most notably today on Facebook.
"Using his own yardstick, how much more severely should he be censured for actually cohabiting with a member of the Labour Party and socialising with others, including the Leader of the Opposition? But then, perhaps he does not 'cavort' with them. Also, he belongs, at least nominally, to the liberal party, which would not countenance any such thing."