Updates 5:45 pm: Senate panel sets new ZTE hearing on Oct. 25 and Cayetano denies Razon pressure on ZTE issue
My column today, In this corner, took its title from the name of Arsenio Lacson’s famous column, and borrowed a line from the great Arsenic himself. The boxing metaphor was courtesy of Uniffors.
Senators are getting hammered: NBN deal probe in limbo? Tycoon said to be meddling in investigation. As for the tycoon, Razon breaks silence, says too busy for ZTE deal (see also Business tycoon denies ZTE link and Businessman slams Neri, Joey for linking him to scandal).
Going back to the senators under fire, Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano says that while the senators are away, the staff won’t play. They’ll be busy, busy little bees: Senate to continue ZTE mess investigation ‘off-cam’ – solon. Fair enough. Anyway, SC to continue hearing ZTE: now how that turns out can affect political calculations of either side, too.
And to recover lost ground, Alan Cayetano to move for disclosure of Neri’s exec session with Senate.
It’s not true that Benjamin Abalos hasn’t resigned (by the way, Lito Banayo has an interesting account of the political math that resulted in that resignation). He’s quit, but his being on terminal leave, as someone familiar with the bureaucracy explained it to me, means “he can still claim his leave credits from the Comelec and perhaps even monetize it,” while another person explained the bureaucratic meaning to be, “the Comelec is still obliged to pay him the remainder of his salary and benefits.” Oist, Chairman, may 200 pa diyan… in vacation pay. (update, this afternoon) Actually, a congressman just informed me that the retirement pay/benefits for a Comelec Chairman is 15 million Pesos (!)
Anyway, apropos of Abalos, Lawyer says ‘mystery man’ behind Neri, JDV III:
Villareal said this was after he got hold of some documents on Wednesday that reveal the involvement of politicians and government officials in a conspiracy to pin Abalos in the controversial NBN deal, which was scrapped by President Arroyo.
“On Wednesday I was able to get hold of documents that say there are people behind Joey de Venecia and Romy Neri. So we revised the draft of the charge, and we are now drafting a jumbo suit,” Villareal told DZMM.
Asked to identify the politicians, Villareal said one of them is a “big fish.” He said the name of the politicians and government officials behind Neri and de Venecia will be revealed once they file the “jumbo suit” anytime next week.
The big tuna most likely will be the Speaker himself. But Yoda says, strong the force is: De Venecia: I’m watching my back.
As I mentioned yesterday, the national budget is where the House can give the Palace a thorough grilling: when the Appropriations Committee chairman speaks, it’s like a declaration of open season in the hunting grounds: House panel okays changes to social-service outlays. And so, Hike in unprogrammed Palace funds questioned. Or maybe, instead of a thorough grilling, all that can be accomplished is just a slight toasting: House may only touch 23% of P1.2-T nat’l budget.
Meanwhile, Palace denies feeling pressure. But even as Palace mulls new NBN project, and clarifies that $460-M Cyber Education deal not scrapped, private groups engage in their own diplomacy: China prodded on transparency: Beijing’s assurances welcomed given Arroyo administration’s recalcitrance.
Oh, but Expect More ZTE-Like Scandals.
There’s news that Central bank incurs losses on strong peso.
Manuel Buencamino says the President is like Marcos in his last days in power: incontinent. Ellen Tordesillas says the Chief of Staff’s being a jerk.
Tony Lopez says the cost of doing business is going up, red tape is increasing. The Business Mirror editorial looks at companies that have staked out claims to wind power sites, but haven’t done any actual investing.
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