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

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NBN-ZTE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

After 13 hearings and 4 technical working groups, the Blue Ribbon Committee came up with the following indisputable facts:


This is a story of how people in high places-the relatives of the most powerful men and women in government took advantage of their relationships, either with their parent or spouse, to cajole the Executive into entering a national broadband contract that would obtain something our country did not need, and which is manifestly disadvantageous to the Filipino people. It is about the war of the most powerful, most influential and most organized syndicates in government, some members of which are public officers, who were at each other’s throats because of an alleged double–cross. It is about the never-ending battle among the political elite for economic power, domination and control.

On the one hand, we have the former Comelec Chairman Benjamin S. Abalos who claims to have no less than the First Gentleman as his political sponsor. With him are Leo San Miguel, Ruben Reyes and General Quirino De La Torre. They are known as the Filipino group. They are the group that were lobbying for ZTE.

On the other hand, we have Mr. Jose De Venecia III, the son of then House Speaker Jose De Venecia, Jr. who had no less than former NEDA Director General Romulo Neri as well as Neri’s confidante, Engineer Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada, as staunch supporters of his BOT scheme. Mr. Jose De Venecia III claims that he is a whistleblower. However, there were many times in this scandal that he could have blown the whistle, but did not. He only started complaining when he did not get his way. Mr. Jose De Venecia III and his group were pushing for Amsterdam Holdings to capture the national broadband contract.

In the middle of it all, is a President who was unable to control and discipline her own men as they fight over their kickbacks. She kept her silence in the midst of the corruption- acquiescing and condoning the deed. The facts pointing to her may not be total, but the stink is perceived to have reached her office.

Because the NBN-ZTE controversy had reached fever pitch, the Philippine government had to cancel the contract. Former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos also resigned from his position in the Constitutional Commission.

The NBN-ZTE scandal remains to be one of the most acrimoniously debated issues in the Philippines. If people look at the opportunists in this scandal, they will discover that they are all scavengers and predators ready to feast on the carrions of their preys. And when they cannot get their rightful share of the booty, one of them squeals and they start pointing fingers at another.

Everyone in this story stands accountable to the Filipino nation. This deal would have been kept hidden if all of the characters were able to “moderate their greed” and if ever they lived up to the saying that there is “honor among thieves.” But, the situation got out of hand and the self-proclaimed loser, Mr. Jose De Venecia III, spilled the beans.



RECOMMENDATIONS:

H.E. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO

• The President’s immunity from suit

The Ombudsman is wrong in merely dismissing the case against the President on the mere pretext of presidential immunity from suit.

It is the duty of the Ombudsman to investigate impeachable officers. No exemption is provided in Section 22. What the Office should have done was to investigate and make findings for transmittal to the House, if an impeachment would have been warranted, rather than a blanket statement or exculpation because of supposed immunity. It is not for the Ombudsman to make a ruling as to immunity, but for the House to decide what to do once it receives the transmittal. Neither was it for the Ombudsman to say that there is no more impeachment process to be had because of the one-year bar. It is for the House to make that ruling. Private persons such as the First Gentleman could have been covered in this provision, as well.

Further, the Constitution in Article VII, Section 5 provides that the President “preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man.”
Also, Article VII, Section 17 of the Constitution provides that: “The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Her acts in this case reveal that her performance of presidential duty has been wanting.

FORMER COMELEC CHAIRMAN BENJAMIN S. ABALOS


• Violation of Section 3 (a) and (h) of Republic Act 3019 otherwise known as ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT

• Violation of Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code otherwise known as Corruption of Pubic Officials.


MR. JOSE “JOEY” DE VENECIA III


• Violation of Section 5 of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT.
Section 5. Prohibition on certain relatives.


FORMER SPEAKER JOSE DE VENECIA, JR.


• Violation of Section 5 of Republic Act 3019 otherwise known as ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT


• Violation of Republic Act No. 6713 Section 7 (d) otherwise known as Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.


FIRST GENTLEMAN JOSE MIGUEL ARROYO


• Violation of Sections 4 (a) and 5 of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT.


SECRETARY LEANDRO MENDOZA, ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORENZO FORMOSO AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY ELMER SONEJA


• Violation of Section 3 (h) of RA 3019 otherwise known as the ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT.


ENGINEER RODOLFO NOEL LOZADA


• Violation of Sections 3 (a) and (h) of RA 3019 otherwise known as the ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT.

• Violation of Civil Service Law, Book V Chapter 7 Section 54, Executive Order No. 292, Administrative Code of 1987.


FORMER NEDA SECRETARY ROMULO NERI


• Violation of Section 3 (a) and (h) of RA 3019 otherwise known as the ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT.



SECRETARY JOSE “LITO” ATIENZA, JR. AND FORMER DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY HUBERTO GAITE



• Violation Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code



ZTE Corporation


An investigation must be done on the ZTE Corporation, as well, in order to determine its role in the whole mess. While we must, the government must, encourage the influx of foreign investors and corporations in order to contribute to employment, and wealth creation in the country, these corporations must be warned not to participate in illegal transactions. These companies must not contribute or encourage the corruption of public officers.

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