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Panicking into the arms of defeat
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on September 25, 2007 77 Comments 5 min read
Liveblogging will be at Inquirer Current. Previous I'm leaving on a jet plane... Not! Next

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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  1. Miscommunication? Of course.

    GMA kept changing her mind, kept giving out conflicting orders!

  2. I must admit it’s hard to fathom the mind of Gloria Pidal.
    However,she inevitably follows this sequence: “Move on,Back Off,Fly”.

    All very opportunistic and all very suspicious. Also very counter productive

  3. cvj:To Gloria I think defeat is the temporary time period between two money-making scandals….

    she remembers what her day said to her:

    “I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware.”
    Diosdado Macapagal

    Gloria Pidal:Dad,just China!

  4. tdc:

    pretty much plausible at this point. after all when the shite hits the fan… to use a phrase from a previous regime… “walang pamilya, walang kaibigan”

  5. Tonio:she might be bite size but she is incredibly ruthless.To protect herself,she can even resort to sending her Fat Guy to “exile” again and proclaim to the nation with dolorous eyes “I’m married to the country…”

  6. tonio:I think that Abalos will be sacrificed… – TDC

    I agree, which is why i titled my own blog’s series of ZTE-related post under ‘Abalos Political Deathwatch’. I can’t see how he could not be anything but toast.

    cvj:To Gloria I think defeat is the temporary time period between two money-making scandals…. – tdc

    lol.

  7. Yes it is quite plausible that the Chairman will be sacrificed. But it will probably be done in such a way that he will not be liable for anything indictable, and Im sure lawyers will find ways to do that–lack of admissible evidence and all that. And perhaps he will be amply rewarded. He will be allowed to resign in peace and relative luxury. 😉

  8. “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”

    Ateneo has the home to our great heroes..Jose Rizal,Ninoy Aquino,Ed Jopspn and many others.

    BUT,remember also where Ronnie Puno,Joseph Estrada and MIKE ARROYO also studied…

    Ateno has been the homw to bothe GREAT heroes and also sadly,scoundrels!!

    Let’s see in what category of Blue Eagles doese Neri belong to… abangan..

  9. Same old thing — Lots of words, lots of hype…little if no relevant facts. Round and round the political players go, in a ceaseless self-absorbed dance…like Ecstasy-impaired partiers at an all-night rave.

    It’s sad that the media plays right along; it is incapapble of independent and original thinking…it just adds to the confusion and hot air. I really wish a major news organization could step up and start being un-aligned and truly professional.

    The Senate deserves a lot of the original blame, though. The way they conducted themselves today (Wiretapping) — both pro- and anti-admin types — was appaling. They need to prepare themselves much better.

    I hope the NBN inquiry will suddenly become better managed by all parties. I doubt it will be.

  10. “Who am I to do that? This was supposed to be a government-to-government contract. Ambassadors are the ones who should be doing this,” Abalos said.”

    I boldly predict “Daddy Chair” Abalos will be rewarded with the ambassador’s post to China after either his retirement or his “forced resignation”.That’s always the reward of Gloria Pidal(remember Ambassador DAVIDE)

  11. GEO: you are 100% right about today’s Senate hearing on wiretapping.All senators(admin and opposition) acted like “palengkeras” on national TV.

    That’s why it is easy for the bite site Pidal to question the real need for this once sacred institution!

  12. Yeah, TDC — the Senate sucks. It’s been ineffective for years. How many laws have been passed??? And with so many “Presidentiables” jostling for the 2010 elections, I can’t imagine it will improve this time around.

    Meanwhile, I think the Executive will walk away from this NBN thing with nary a scratch. There’s was no infraction! (None that could ever be proven, that is.)

    If JDV3 wanted to really bust someone (ZTE, Abalos, FG allegedly), he should have gone to his lawyers/confidantes and prepped his case well…springing it on the public once the bad deals were actually consumated. Instead, he sounds like Lacson, Cayetano, et al — Lots of explosive accusations, zero hard proof.

    Now I know what Lacson and Catyetano’s ulterior goals are…but what was JDV3 possibly thinking? That’s the part I don’t get. What result was he shooting for??? I’m guessing that he’ll get absolutely nothing out of all of this. His hand has been totally misplayed…or it was totally bogus from the beginning.

  13. tdc, cvj,

    Near retirement Abalos is a lameduck chairman of comelec. The ZTE fiasco’a heat is gonna cook this lameduck into adobong itik a la pateros.

  14. mlq3,

    re “Gov’t places more China deals on hold”

    an off-shoot of the Senate’s ZTE investigation, the creation of the Philippine-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

    To monitor, investigate, and submit to congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the Phillippines and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.

  15. PETER:I boldly predicted that NERI was going to attend the Senate hearings in spite of all that buzz that he was going to fly the coop…

    Let me make some more wild predictions:

    1)Neri will implicate Daddy Chair but defend the Queen.

    2)Abalos will resign but take a self-righteous stance and sue the people who “unjustly” maligned him.

    3)The ZTE will push through when the political noise goes down several decibels.(Hard to return the advances…)

    4)The ZTE DEPT ED project will also push through.

    5)This is the most obvious:there will be more Mega Deals with China(until 2010)

    remember:“I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware.”
    Diosdado Macapagal

  16. Here’s a backwards way to look at everything:

    If Abalos has been dirty all along, he has a lot of dirt on many politicians…from all the different parties. They don’t want him getting trapped like a rat…and singing like one, too.

    If Abalos was getting — and sharing/spreading around — a big bounty from ZTE…he can point fingers at many powerful people and corroborate/expand JDV3’s story. They don’t want him turning disloyal…and will thus protect him.

    If Abalos is clean, THEN he can be made a scapegoat. No one will care; they’ll let him swing in the wind on the end of a noose…..

  17. CHINA SCANDALS

    The ruling Communist Party is intensifying its campaign to shore up the reputation of China as a trading powerhouse following a spate of embarrassing product recalls, contamination scandals and ZTE Bribery scandals.

    As China feverishly prepares to play host to the Olympic Games next year, the Chinese government is becoming alarmed
    at the spate of bad news.

    WE have this small window of opportunity (until the 2008 Olympics) to keep blogging and telling our countrymen and the world about the ZTE scandals with the collaboration of GMA in the Philippines!

  18. My advice to Mr Neri:

    If your captain can’t decide whether to steer the ship away from the eye of the storm and the ship will be pooped anytime, better watch out. You may have to jump ship – not good trying to stand by your captain and to be so stubbornly obedient, difficult to save a ship that has three sheets to the wind.

    When that happens Ex-Os are allowed to take a stand – either to assume control and command or failing that, to go down with the captain and the ship.

  19. Grant of Pardon

    In the name of millions of Filipinos who did not vote for me to be president and in the name of millions more who want me ousted from office, I, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, by the powers vested in me by Davide, hereby grant unto you, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, who was elected as president by more than 11M Filipinos, ousted by a few thousands at EDSA Dos, and deprived of freedom for six years, ABSOLUTE PARDON.

  20. The President’s Resignation Letter

    Good evening.

    This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this Nation. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter that I believe affected the national interest.

    In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of Presidency, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.

    In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.

    But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.

    I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interests of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.

    From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I have concluded that because of the Scandals I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Nation would require.

    I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of the country first. The country needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.

    To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.

    Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. The Vice President will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.

    Richard M.Nixon

    Sayang,Mrs.Pidal does not have the “delicadeza “of Richard M.Nixon.

  21. Wish ko lang.Sana after tomorrow’s hearing,my Blue Eagles honor roll will look like this:

    Blue Eagles Heroes:Jose Rizal,Ninoy Aquino,Ed Jopson,Romy Neri and countless men and women serving this country!

    Excluded from the above list:Ronnie Puno,Erap,FG Mike Pidal,etc…

  22. Regardless of whatever happens to GMA, how would that influence the fact that Erap got caught red-handed…and was credibly convicted?

    Catch the bad guys (and gals) and imprison them…regardless of socio-eco-politico status. Right?

    Right? Right????

    Isn’t the only valid argument about due process? Erap may not have been properly impeached, but the eventual evidence was irrefutable. Even Gloria-haters know this.

    If one wants to now catch Gloria, they must follow due process…or complete a successful revolution (as some on this board suggest).

    My guess is that respecting due process is the better option for this country…..

    I’d also refuse to give either Erap or Gloria a pardon. But that’s me…..

  23. Geo, i guess your saying that because you’re concerned that all the good things that are happening over at the Business Process Outsourcing and IT Services sector might be put in peril by any civil disturbance.

  24. cvj —

    Civil disturbance? No problem. Stay within the boundaries of the law, though.

    Yes, I’m concerned about keeping the positives going in outsourcing. Oh, and in IT, too. Oh yeah, and in manufacturing, tourism, consumer spending, capital spending, GDP, GNP too. And I think further strengthening the country’s institutions and the respect for the law and civic duty is a good thing.

    You disagree???

  25. God writes straight with crooked lines!

    Let’s pray for Romy Neri for him to have the courage to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

    Romy:Fly high!

  26. “Neri on NBN probe: I’ll try to answer ‘truthfully'”..

    No mr. Neri trying is not good enough, you MUST Tell the Truth…

  27. Geo, how can i? We’re in the same field so your pain is my pain. I’m also hoping this long running hostage situation in Malacanang would be concluded peacefully.

  28. “Neri conceded he could be removed from his government post after his testimony.

    He acknowledged that Arroyo may have to consider his trustworthiness after his Senate appearance and that he was prepared for the possibility of being removed from CHEd.”

    “Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.”

    ~ Saint Ignatius of Loyola

  29. what truth neri will tell that will revulse this nation? If the Garci wiretapping and the accompnying fraud in the election, the Joc-joc caper and other scandals, failed to do it, what else will?
    NBN deal can be quantififed, and, can be understood by the people. Pera lang yan eh. Principles? Eh dinaanan na nga natin yun kay Garci at yung dayaan sa eleksyon. Ok ok lang sa tao. May gumalaw ba. Hanapbuhay na lang tayo.

  30. NERI can reveal four important points:

    1)How to reform the graft-ridden government procurement system.

    2)Did Daddy Chair try to bribe him?

    3)Did he report the attempted Daddy Chair bribery to Gloria Pidal? What did she do with report?

    4)Who is the big-time business man who tried to pressure him to approve the deal to help finance the May 2007 elections?(I understand that he is involved in pier operations and publishing)

  31. Sure, lets dot our “i”s and cross our “t”s. But, given the wimpy nature of our “representatives” the chances of impeachment rival only those of a snowballs in hell. The mere mention of impeachment is demoralizing, because, even as we can see the good grounds for doing so, the new Lozano complaint filed in the House that encompasses Abalos’ shenanigans has been rejected even by a so-called opposition congressman. Ronnie Zamora, I think. So much for that idea.

  32. Geo, it’s the more reason to believe JDV3 then. you’re wondering why he didn’t wait and jz let ZTE, Abalos and Malacanang get themselves caught red handed – he gave the reason: i can’t just stand by and watch the country’s treasury looted (he said it in one of his interviews)

    your idea, though really great for building air tight cases, leave much to be desired for people who want to prevent damages BEFORE they can be made.

    I guess if you discover a plot to rape a loved one of yours, you’d wait till they do the deed, and videotape it to boot! (jz to make convicting them of rape stronger)

    I agree with you though abt the NO PARDON thingy. Kaya lang wag ka na umasa. GMA is laying the groundwork for her own pardon. And they’re even hinting Erap doesn’t have to return what he stole. Isn’t that great? Crime does pay in this land!

    To ERAP: kapal ng mukha mo! san ka nakakita ng CONDITIONAL PARDON? amfufu ka!

    ERAP: sige magso sori na ako! pero aminin nyo muna na wala ako kasalanan! saka akin pa rin tong perang to ha?

    di ko kayo kakalimutan. Ikaw, Si Gloria, ang buong COMELEC, Osmena (marami pa) darating din ang araw nyo. at pag ako na ang nakatingin sa bitayan nyo, walang awa ko kayong pahihirapan bago patayin. love – ang inyong masang Pilipino

    senseless to worry abt the country taking off. it can’t even get off the ground with all the dead weight pushing their dumb asses around. see you in the gallows in 3 yrs time, assholes!

  33. “To ERAP: kapal ng mukha mo! san ka nakakita ng CONDITIONAL PARDON? amfufu ka!Devil aDV8”

    Only in the Philippines!

  34. “estrada nixes pardon for now” – how ironic! what kind of hubris for a convicted criminal to treat accepting a proposed pardon like a a gift from him. i wonder what the so-called “plunder watch” rant club is doing vis a vis this pardon proposal for estrada. their silence is deafening. is this group really watching all corruption in government or is it only watching pgma and her administration. who could be financing them?

  35. what would happen should estrada be pardoned? gen carlos garcia, manalili, et al. should be pardoned and allowed to enjoy their loot under the equal protection clause of the constitution; ricaforte and the other co-indictees in the estrada plunder, who are still at-large, need not even be arrested and prosecuted; and all these bellyaching about graft and corruption in the philippines should just stop and treated as mere “political noise”. i have already been wondering why the self-anointed civil rights ngos and mouthpieces have not raised a self-righteous finger to protest estrada’s detention in luxury and almost regular time-off for personal business, while ordinary poor criminals languish in crowded, filthy, vermin-infested cells, hardly able to visit and see their loved ones. are we living in a democracy, or under a selective “rule of law” and double standard of justice?

  36. “estrada nixes pardon for now” may be just media hype, maybe it ain’t true. just like what you say, bencard, we gotta hear it from the horse’s mouth to have proof.

  37. mbw, i’m not sure garcia has been convicted and sentenced but i’m pretty sure he is in detention.i just saw and heard erap on tv. insisting he could not accept pardon unless he is deemed innocent, and therefore would only consider absolute (unconditional) pardon. that was as straight from the horse’s mouth as you can get. the man is really clueless, he obviously thinks stealing multi-million of people’s money is not wrong. the biggest enigma is that he was supposed to have authored/sponsored what is now the plunder law while a senator. he thinks and rationalizes like a 5-year old juvenile, no wonder he now holds the distinction of being the first convicted president of graft and corruption.

    as if to underscore his cluelessness, he seems to justify his demand for unconditional pardon by citing the previous “offers” supposedly made to him to go on exile and enjoy his loot, then fade into the sunset. even if true, he should know, as a gambling man, that a rejection of an offer means as if no offer had ever been made. at that point, all bets were off.

  38. grd, you can consider me a social conservative but a political democrat. at any rate, i call it as i see it – i try to, anyway.

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

    it happens in america too.

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/data%3Fpid%3Davimage%26iid%3DiQahsiJqgXIg&imgrefurl=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news%3Fpid%3D20601087%26sid%3DaxD6DtytHWSc%26refer%3Dhome&h=360&w=488&sz=21&hl=en&start=9&tbnid=lAy2AIcGrEkKQM:&tbnh=96&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbush%2Bpardons%2BSCOoter%2BLIBBY%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

    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.

  40. i wouldn’t exactly pin my hopes on mr. romulo l. neri. this way i won’t get disappointed (devastated, more apt?).

    if he talks, i’d be delighted (ecstatic, should be).

    …lowered expectation…

    —–

    to hell with pardon, but leave the money behind…

    no sense in money burnt…(hmmm, like smoking?)

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