"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Firm and Fair judgment on NBN-ZTE report

With the findings and recommendations contained in the committee report on the botched National Broadband Network-ZTE project, Senator Richard J. Gordon has once again exemplified firm and fair judgment.

In releasing the report of the Senate blue ribbon committee, which he chairs, Gordon stressed that no one is above the law and that all public officials involved in the anomalous deal must be held accountable for their actions.

"Everyone in this story stands accountable to the Filipino nation. The Senate blue ribbon committee has issued a report that is based on the testimonials and other pieces of evidence presented during the 13 Senate hearings. We have a report that we believe is firm and fair," Gordon said.

The 127-page report contains findings of the committee that the Ombudsman is wrong in dismissing the case against the President on the mere pretext of presidential immunity from suit.

It also recommended the filing of appropriate charges against First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo; former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos; former Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr., and his son Jose "Joey" De Venecia III; Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Asst. Sec. Lorenzo Formoso and Asst. Sec. Elmer Soneja of the Department of Transportation and Communications; Engineer Rodolfo Noel Lozada; former National Economic and Development Authority Sec. Romulo Neri; Sec. Lito Atienza; and former Deputy Executive Sec. Huberto Gaite.

"It is our duty to find out the accountability of those involved in this anomaly. The appropriate charges must be filed against those found liable, but if a person is not the most guilty, he may become a state witness," the senator said.

Gordon said the Senate blue ribbon committee and its staff ensured a firm and fair report on the NBN-ZTE deal, like how they did with the report on the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, wherein the committee also recommended the filing of charges against all those implicated, led by former Agriculture Sec. Jocelyn Bolante.

"We need to show that the rule of law governs our country and that the government is subject to law. Since public office is a public trust, government officials must, at all times, be accountable to the people," he said.

Even before he headed the blue ribbon committee, Gordon has already showed a no-nonsense approach to fight corruption through his "firm but fair, serious and sincere" way of conducting Senate investigations.

In 2006, as chairman of Senate committee on government corporations and public enterprises, he led the inquiry into the alleged improprieties committed within the Philcomsat Group of Corporation by their respective boards of directors, purportedly with the consent and cooperation of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

He also led the investigation on the June 2006 Nursing Licensure Examinations that was marred by widespread leakage of exam questions by review centers.

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