Turning Whistleblowers Into Fall Guys; GMA Impeachment Hopeless (Retitled, Updated)
Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (and long-known presidential wannabee) must be feeling upbeat the morning.
This after his quite belated release of the panel’s findings on the $329-M deal to set up a national broadband communication network (NBN-ZTE) that has become emblematic of corruption under Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
First, a read of the statements from yesterday’s event
The 127-page Blue Ribbon Committee Report preample:
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 into a national broadband contract that would obtain something our country did not need, and which was manifestly disadvantageous to the Filipino people.
Blue ribbon chair Sen. Richard Gordon:
Her (Pres. Arroyo’s) acts in this case reveal that her performance of presidential duty has been wanting. Unfortunately, you can see the litany of errors of the President. Apparently, she wasn’t able to crack the whip on her people.
Congress could still impeach Ms Arroyo to strip her of immunity from suit as President. She has to explain and answer at the proper time. Ms Arroyo could be held accountable even “after her term.” She did not stop all these people from continuing on with their nefarious activities. (Then NEDA secretary Romulo) Neri had already informed her [of the bribery attempt], she should have ordered an investigation immediately. She should have called all those involved.
The President did not do anything. That is very glaring—there was no action taken by the President on all these.
The Ombudsman is wrong in merely dismissing the case against the President on the mere pretext of presidential immunity from suit. The Ombudsman must make a finding and forward it to the House of Representatives.
It was not for the Office of the Ombudsman to clear the President of liability. Section 22 of Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) provides that the Office of the Ombudsman shall have the power to investigate any serious misconduct in office allegedly committed by officials removable by impeachment. In the middle of it all is a President who was unable to control and discipline her own men as they fought over kickbacks. She kept her silence in the midst of the corruption—acquiescing and condoning the deed. The joint committee found that the facts pointing to her (Ms Arroyo) may not be total, but the stink is perceived to have reached her office.
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde:
It is not true that the President did not act on the report of the then NEDA secretary that there was an attempt to bribe him.
The President ordered Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno to investigate through the Philippine National Police. Puno said the PNP promptly conducted an investigation.
However, he said, the result was inconclusive at the time. Puno reported to the President that there was no basis to file charges against anyone at that time.
I just heard about it, but I don’t know the details so I don’t know how to react.
We’ve been charged already.
Ano pa gusto nila (What else do they want)? A lot of people have already filed cases against us.
I’m still trying to get Lozada’s reaction. But Mr. De Venecia took my call:
I am not surprised that the Senate Blue Ribbon committee headed by Senator Richard Gordon has recommended that I be included among those to be charged for my alleged role in the ZTE-national broadband network case.
But I’m happy that the committee also saw fit to include the true mastermind of the P16-billion scandal — First Gentleman Mike Arroyo.
Let it not be forgotten that I was the primary whistleblower of this scandal.
As a businessman from the private sector, I was the original proponent in setting up an NBN which would have been advantageous to our government.
Mr. Arroyo and his cohort, Benjamin Abalos, saw an opportunity to earn huge kickbacks by awarding the deal to ZTE. Only I stood in their way.
I testified that Mr. Arroyo warned me to “back off.” Mr. Abalos sought to soften the blow by offering me a P500-million bribe. I refused to back off and I refused the bribe.
It is unfortunate that the Blue Ribbon committee erroneously concluded that I was part of this dirty deal, but I know that in the end, I will be cleared.
I look forward to facing Mike Arroyo and Benjamin Abalos to prove my allegations in the proper venue — in a court of law.
The sooner, the better.
I am not at all surprised that both former COMELEC Chairman Abalos Benjamin Abalos and now SSS President Romulo Neri insist of playing possum.
But what truly surprises, and galls me, is how the two men who blew the off the NBN-ZTE scam, Rodolfo ‘Jun’ Lozada, and businessman (recently-declared opposition senatorial aspirant Jose ‘Joey’ De Venecia III have seemingly been turned into fall guys!!!
Should we now expect that the release of the blue ribbon panel findings result in justice finally being serve?
Will Pres. Arroyo be impeached wither term now winding down?
Or will the headline story just be what it is, a headline?
One thing I’m most certain about:
If history remembers the late disgraced former US President Richard Nixon for the Watergate Scandal, so will Gloria Macapagal Arroyo be remembered for the NBN-ZTE Scandal.!!!
Former bluee ribbon Committee chair Alan Peter Cayetano has just told a news conference that he doesn’t agree with Sen. Gordon’s findings.
“There is no cae, no basis, for the whistle blowers themselves to also be charged,” Cayetano said.
In truth and in fact, if Joey De Venecia and Jun Lozada did not reveal the illegal machination, the deal would have gone through!
In the meantime I’ve also received information that Sen. Panfilo Lacson will recommend the removal of both Lozada and De Venecia from those being charged in the scandal.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. for hid part said the report was good because it “spared no one.” But Pimental said the young De Venecia and Lozada should be used as state witnesses.
And in my inbox comes the clincher, as veteran journalist Raul Beltrans shared
This early Speaker Prospero Nograles is saying that any impeachment case against is no longer possible.
Congress” Nograles points out, “is left with less than 60 session days, the maximum allowed to tackle the issue.”
The conclusion, at day’s end, methinks Sen. Gordon, has simply positioned himself to be able to claim he ‘courageously’ fingered even GMA as culpable in the NBN-ZTE case.
I will bet that when Gordon declares is candidacy as ‘standard bearer’ of his own recently formed ‘Bagumbayan Party’ he’ll banner the Blue Ribbon panel report as proof of his anti-corruption platform’s cornerstone.