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Sep 25

Panicking into the arms of defeat

Headlines today: Even as Kickback blow to Arroyo ratings.

Flailing in the Palace: It was miscommunication, not a flip-flop – Palace on Neri (blogger Uniffors points to a news report that the flip-flopping was due to Us Embassy intervention: which only goes to show, if you’re going to play the China card, better make sure your whole hand is strong).

The Palace version? Arroyo: Bribery talk over ZTE deal was ‘uncorroborated’

But there’s more. President knew Abalos involved in deal – JdV: for details, see Ricky Carandang:

As JDV tells it, he and his president were on a bus from Hong Kong to Shenzhen when she had a phone conversation with Abalos. Apparently Abalos had flown ahead to China and was waiting for them there so they could all play golf. During the phone conversation, Arroyo asked Abalos why he couldn’t tweak ZTE’s broadband proposal so that there would be no need for the government to borrow money or issue a sovereign guarantee for the project. In the presence of the Speaker, she asked Abalos why he couldn’t get ZTE to submit a proposal similar to the one submitted by Joey De Venecia’s company, Amsterdam Holdings, which had no up front cost for the government.

JDV says he didn’t know how Abalos replied to the President because she was speaking to him on the phone. He said that they only met with Abalos after they arrived in Shenzhen.

What does this tell us?

First, that President Arroyo knew that Abalos was pushing the ZTE proposal. Based on what the president said, she not only knew that Abalos was involved in the ZTE proposal but assumed that he had enough influence over ZTE to get them to materially modify their proposal.

Second, that the president knew that the ZTE proposal did not conform to her own policy and guidelines about how a broadband deal should be done. She knew that, contrary to her stated policy, the ZTE proposal would require the government to borrow the money to fund the project. And yet, she approved the deal later on anyway.

This is not an unsubstantiated claim by some oppositionist trying to oust the president. This is the Speaker of the House talking about something he had direct knowledge of. The fourth highest offical in the country and a loyal ally of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Whether he meant to or not, the Speaker may have just implicated the President in the ZTE Broadband scandal.

As for Neri himself: Neri on NBN probe: I’ll try to answer ‘truthfully’

Got this text message from Atenean friends (I’m not from the Ateneo), who asked me to post it in my blog:

Time to show the world Ateneans are not buzzards in Blue Eagle’s clothing! Attend Senate hearing tomorrow, 9:30 am to boost morale of Romy Neri, HS ’66, to tell the truth. Wear blue or your homecoming uniform.

So in solidarity with the concerned alumni, here’s an inspirational song (click on it to play it): Blue_Eagle_The_King.mp3

See the Action for Economic Reforms statement, too.

So why did I title this entry panicking into the arms of defeat? After gambling on playing it cool last week, the administration has engaged in one clumsy ploy after another, not even including the clumsy tactic of having the President’s husband fly off to parts unknown on the eve of Joey de Venecia’s testimony. The President’s instructions last Saturday seemed to lay the basis for stonewalling on the basis of executive privilege; but rather than play that card, the administration then spent Monday seesawing between confirming or denying that Neri would be made to accompany the President to New York. In the end, the President caved, told Neri to go, and has made it even harder for the executive privilege card to be played. The President’s proven herself easily spooked, with a tendency to be fickle, which can only demoralize her lieutenants.

In Inquirer Current, John Nery points to criticism of fatuous questions, and asks, what questions should the senators ask? The Business Mirror editorial says the questions should include probing into the CyberEd project, too.

In other news, Gov’t places more China deals on hold. Puno: Estrada could get to keep P1B of ill-gotten assets (update: Estrada nixes Arroyo pardon for now–Puno)

In Publius Pundit, the underwhelming response to the “one laptop per child” effort.

Just on a housekeeping note (the need to dot our i’s and cross our t’s) we should cover all bases and with this in mind, let me reiterate the points I raised on June 7, 2007 in A way forward:

1. Creation of a Special Independent Prosecutor’s office to undertake preliminary investigation for possible cases of impeachment.

2. For the House of Representatives to junk the flawed 13th Congress’ rules on impeachment and adopt the more traditional, and fairer ones, of past Congresses. See my August 17, 2006 column, Motive.

Overseas, thrilling news of goings-on in Burma. See Monks and the military:As more monks and laymen join protests in Myanmar, what will the junta do? And the editorial Burma needs the world’s help. Blogger Center Sight says Pakistan Approaches the Boiling Point.

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77 comments

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  1. pete m.

    mlq3,

    defeat could mean GMA will resign, why not interview Noli on ANC about his views on the matter ?

  2. justice in waiting

    Pardoning convicts by the Head of State could be just as selective as the justice system of a given country. President George W. just pardon White House aid Libby immediately after his conviction..If we follow bencard assertion that all other plunderers can be granted pardon as Estrada’s pardon (if granted and accepted) as precedent, then every one convicted of obstruction (was that Libby’s Crime?) should be pardoned by George W. Now please don’t try to say that George W. and America have nothing to do with Gloria’s Justice…

  3. Bencard

    justice in waiting, you know pardon is a prerogative of a president. no question about its legality so long as no constitutional requirement is violated, e.g., final and executory conviction. therefore, any precedent set by a pardon is political, not legal in nature and, therefore, not obligatory. a pardon of estrada, who is convicted of plundering about a billion pesos, would set a political firestorm for those serving time, or indicted, for plundering a few hundred million pesos. unless the ‘nobodies’ get the same treatment as estrada, how do you think pgma would look to the general public? what kind of message is she conveying to the nation? that the biggest of the big scoundrels are immune from retribution for their misdeeds, while the smaller fries deserve the full force of the law? whoever is advising gma to grant such a pardon is doing her a great disservice. her popularity is not enhanced by it, and her place in history is darkened because of it. if the proposed pardon is motivated by a need for reconciliation, it is wishful thinking. the chasm is unbridgeable, so much hostility and harm have been inflicted, the only remaining sentiment is revenge. i think, the net effect of such a pardon is more loss of popularity for gma among the true enemies of corruption without gaining anything from the estrada loyalists who, instead, would use the double standard as fodder for their cannons against her. i fervently pray for her enlightenment.

  4. Karl Garcia

    Will the Enrique Razon Jr. fund raising angle,be ever mentioned at all.

    Maybe Neri would make it La Salle vs. Ateneo

    pero kahit na saan mo paikutin ke Abalos pa din ang bagsak, para saan ba yung fund raising?

  5. Karl Garcia

    Geo,

    About the number of laws has the senate passed, if there are a multiple supplier driven contracts like these, there could also be multiple lobbyist driven bills proposed.

    I would rather have less laws,than so many laws, that are overtaken by obsolescence and some even unenforceable and unimplematable.

  6. Karl Garcia

    Gloria is on her own now,
    the us has problems of its own.

    I guess in the 2008 elections bush will lobby for zte and its rival(hard to spell) to merge with its telcos for fund raising ala jocjoc and razon.

  7. grd

    i posted this earlier but until now still awaiting moderation due to the attached link i think.

    “selective “rule of law” and double standard of justice.”

    it happens in america too.

    bencard, i presume you are equally outrage by your president’s act in commuting (almost close to being pardoned) the sentence of former white house aide “scooter” libby after his conviction.

    bush justified his act by saying, “the reputation Libby earned as a lawyer and government official was “forever damaged” by the conviction.

    surprisingly, not many people i think were outraged by this act save for the democrats while republicans are rejoicing saying the decision was correct.

    anyway, what happened to that fundamental rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals?

    no illegal act was committed though. it’s within the power of the president and we can only be outraged.

  8. Geo

    karl —

    I respect your opinion, but mine is that the Senate has been awful. They have not passed many laws…including important ones.

    Meanwhile, am I the only one who thinks Joker is becoming senile? During both yesterday’s wiretapping and today’s NBN hearings, Joker had trouble making any clear points or statements. He went around in circles and couldn’t seem to understand basic statements. Weird. I was embarrassed for him (I don’t dislike him or anything, btw).

  9. Karl Garcia

    “Meanwhile, am I the only one who thinks Joker is becoming senile” GEO

    Joker and enrile

  10. spiderman

    hello,

    Neri’s numbers on cost/mbps is too weird.
    a simple google gives this page of cost of OECD. our costs are not that out of line. I estimate $20 (P999 for zpdee
    500mbps).

    It is indeed GIGO. garbage in garbage out.

  11. spiderman

    oops,

    sorry omitted the website

    http://www.dvd-intelligence.com/main_sections/news_archive/2003_free/7_cost_of_broadband.htm

  12. grd

    “Meanwhile, am I the only one who thinks Joker is becoming senile” GEO

    “Joker and enrile.”

    and maid miriam.

    where’s angara by the way?

  13. TDC

    Karl:As I expected ,Abalos was used as the “fall guy ” to save the Queen and the FG.

  14. Geo

    OK, what is Mar Roxas’ excuse for his utter lack of comprehension? That long run around about the cost of financing was ridiculous.

    “Why don’t we get a 3% finance rate and then get interested parties to bid?”

    Because no one will give a 3% rate, sir. Not without strings attached (like the contract itself). It’s that simple. For a guy who constantly touts his experience on Wall St, he’s being either ignorant or disingenuous.

    Anyway, this sure makes for good tv….! 🙂

  15. Geo

    Gosh, Biazon ran off the tracks, too (ha-ha…Northrail, etc…get it?). It’s amazing that these Senators dare raise issues that they are incapable of discussing with expertise or solid knowledge.

    The good news was that the one girl seen over his shoulder (and earlier behing Peter Cayetano’s shoulder) is a welcome distraction. Best looking woman all day.

    There were some good avenues of inquiry earlier in the day. Unfortunately, it’s more like drunk cowboys shooting wildly in the air at this point. The session really deteriorated today. The late-comer Senators were especially bad — they would have done better to just read the record and get caught up.

    Give merit to Lacson, though…nice move with using Bondoc to try to dig under Neri’s skin. Neri held firm though.

  16. Manila Bay Watch

    Re: “Because no one will give a 3% rate, sir. Not without strings attached (like the contract itself).”

    That’s true.

  17. Manila Bay Watch

    A foreign govt loan at 3% is a giveaway particularly if there’s a 4 or 5 grace period. Would even be better if RP could negotiate a 20 year loan… At 3%? That will be just superb for RP.

    Very possible.

    Problem is Philippines doesn’t have credible credit rating status.

    France’s own official govt foreign credit rating agency rates Philippines way below the ladder.

  18. Geo

    Escudero once again looks professional and intelligent. I’d give him the best score today for the Senators. I may not agree with him on many fronts, but I respect his work in both houses.

  19. Geo

    Senators now beating a dead horse. Neri is going to evoke 464 no matter what. The Senate will have to take up this issue in another venue/session; they are just wasting time now.

    Edit: Here’s Joker saying the same thing: Challenge this later.

    The Senate has really blown this today. A disappointing performance and an indication that the next three years will be meaningless in this “august” chamber.

  20. Geo

    Geez, I take it back re: Escudero. Add Cayetano to the “got no clue” department. Goodness, it’s like these guys have no knowledge whatsoever about simple economic basics…don’t they know the effects of inflation on long term loans?

    And now the old Jamby vs Enrile hate-fest.

    They need to stop this show. This is falling apart and making everyone look bad.

  21. TDC

    Neri is a wimp.He simply was used by GMA to expose Abalos as the fall guy (fg) to protect the the big FG!

  22. manuelbuencamino

    Now Gloria has her own little turd blossom to match Dubya’s dearly departed.

  23. Karl Garcia

    So better abalos than FG

    I get it. me masisira pa ke abalos, ke fg wala na.

  24. Karl Garcia

    bago maoperahan si fg
    hawak nya lahat ng imports,so hawak nya customs at pier.
    kaibigan niya sina aboitiz,razon at madami pang iba syempre….

    walang sinabi yung fertilizer scam ni JocJoc, sa fund efforts ni ricky razon,of course sino partner si Fg.

    di pwede galawin si razon dahil masyado syang malaki ,his father has been a big name in the port services,now he is even expanding globally.

    oo nabanggit ni neri si razon, pero calculated ang mga sinabi nya na huwag pahawakin ng container ang harbour centre…over my dead body!.

    ok,so that is one story.

    good luck na lang ke abalos sa impeachment nya,malas nya kilala nya yung zte vp,kaya laglag sya.

  25. sheila marie

    KAPAL NG MUKHA NI PGMA SAMPU NG KANYANG MGA ANGKAN…MGA PUTANG INA NYO!HINDI KAYO ANG MAY ARI NG PILIPINAS!AT HUWAG NYONG ISIPING MGA TANGA ANG PILIPINO NA HINDI NAIINTINDIHAN ANG MGA KAHAYUPANG GINAGAWA NYO SA BANSA….HINDI BA KAYO NAHIHIYA SA MGA SARILI NYO ANG PINAKAKAIN NYO SA PAMILYA NYO GALING SA NAKAW!NAKUKUHA NYO PA BANG MAGDASAL?NAKAKA2LOG PA BA KAYO NG MAHIMBING?LUMINGON KAYO SA PALIGID NYO…NAPAKARAMING PILIPINONG NAGHIHIRAP DAHIL SA PAGIGING GANID NYO…YANG MGA PINAGNANAKAW NYO SA BANSA DI NYO MADADALA SA KABILANG BUHAY…BAGKUS ISASABIT PA KAYO NYAN SA IMPYERNO!DUN KAYO BAGAY….DI PA KAYO MAGKANDAMATAY!

  26. Jake

    “Time to show the world Ateneans are not buzzards in Blue Eagle’s clothing! Attend Senate hearing tomorrow, 9:30 am to boost morale of Romy Neri, HS ‘66, to tell the truth. Wear blue or your homecoming uniform.text to MLQ3″

    Funny. Some Ateneans are posturing as if they will change the system for the people. “Men for Others” is just a propaganda. You are part of the reactionary cabal that supports the rule of the oligarchs in this country.

    Revolution? You are reactionaries to the bone.

    Get real.

  27. Jake

    “Neri is a wimp.He simply was used by GMA to expose Abalos as the fall guy (fg) to protect the the big FG!”

    Of course he’s a wimp. What do you expect?

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