Ombudsman Pins The Donkey, Errh.. The Culprit In The $329-M NBN-ZTE Scandal (Updated)
So it is that after two years pouring through evidence and “consolidating the complaints in such a complex case” the Office of the Ombudsman has determined who to pin the blame on in the $329-M ZTE-NBN scandal.
It’s former economic planning secretary Romulo Neri taking the fall… err being suspended and charged with graft before the Sandiganbayan because the Ombudsman “could not close its eyes to his misconduct.”
Former COMELEC chairman Benjamin Abalos is off the hook despite Neri having tagged him as telling him “may 200 ka dito Sec (you have 200-million here Secretary).
The First Couple, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo, were cleared of any involvement in the deal (which GMA signed after returning from an undisclosed golf round and meeting with ZTE OFFICIALS in Shenzhen), along with former House Speaker Jose De Venecia (who even presented what he claimed was a ‘smoking gun’ picture of the Shenzhen golf trip).
President Arroyo had aborted the contract after the scandal broke out, so now it’s Neri all by his lonesome.
No wonder then that Neri’s former ‘confidante’ at NEDA, secondary whistleblower (next to Joet De Venecia) was sobbing on DZMM radio, distraught over the turn of events.
Net gainers here, methinks are the De Venecias, particularly Joey III who’s being drafted into former president Estrada’s senatorial slate while his dad retains massive following in Pangasinan where wife Gina is poised to run, and handily inherit his congressional seat.
That’s the way things are, Secretary Neri.
Anyway you are still head of the cash-rich Social Security System, presumed innocent until proven guilty, and sure to have the best lawyers money can put on retain.
As for the Office of the Ombudsman (with its prized head Atty. Merceditas Gutierrez inhibiting herself), it is unmindful of residual criticisms, having crafted what it says is a Solomonic resolution.
Only in the Philippines, eh folks?
Looky, looky, a full three months after I wrote this, the other slowpoke entity that went through the motioins of “seeking the truth in the mother of all scams” and the Arroyo regime’s Badge of Dishonor, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee finally released it findings!!!
And you know what, it took one of the whistleblowers, businessman Joey De Venecia to prod Sen. Dick Gordon to finally sign th 127-page report and release it.
And know what, Gordon thumped his chest and took out a ‘shot gun’, seeking charges against 16 personalities?
Yes, and big no!!!
And as for the Ombudsman, Merceditas Gutierrez, the impeachment case in Congresss over her pussy-footing just continues to gather dust.