Sen. Pimentel is Falling into Gloria’s trap on Charter change

September 10, 2008

Even if Senate Minority Leader Nene Pimentel refuses to admit it, his insistence in pushing a constitutional change toward federalism is playing right into the hands of Gloria Arroyo and fueling further her obsessive determination to hang on to power, no matter his claims that his resolution limits the changes to be made in a Charter change (Cha-cha).

Pimentel certainly knows that Congress, being a bicameral body, cannot be dictated upon by the Senate to adopt his resolution in toto. The House has its own ideas on Cha-cha and, to put it bluntly, once in plenary, any member of Congress can introduce any proposed change under the political sun.

Pimentel’s resolution also calls for a Constituent Assembly to introduce changes to the Constitution, which is hardly acceptable to the Filipino people. For one, members of Congress, all of whom have limited terms, can hardly be trusted to introduce changes that will not benefit them, or their patroness, Gloria Arroyo. Chances are very high that one of the first things they will do is to lift term limits, which will include even the presidency.

Read more>>

Testify, risk ‘tragic ending,’ Palace warns JdV

May 26, 2008

Malacañang yesterday warned former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. that his testimony in the Senate on the controversial ZTE-National Broadband Network (NBN) project scandal could lead to a “tragic ending” for him.

Deputy presidential spokesman Lorelei Fajardo said should De Venecia decide to make public the information he knows about the broadband project, particularly the “secret meeting” betweeen President Arroyo and ZTE Corp. officials in China some two years ago, his numerous questionable deals might be exposed in the senate.

The Palace refused to identify the deals where De Venecia is involved, but hinted that the latter has no right to testify, because he himself has “unclean hands.”

Read more>>

Opposition to JDV: Time to tell all on NBN-ZTE deal

May 26, 2008

THE United Opposition yesterday dared Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia to tell all he knows about the NBN-ZTE broadband scandal.

“The right time to speak about the NBN-ZTE scandal is now,” said Makati Mayor and UNO president Jejomar Binay.  De Venecia, a former Speaker, on asked for more time before testifying on the $329 million NBN-ZTE scandal, saying the issue is serious and might lead to the downfall of the Arroyo administration.

De Venecia accompanied President Arroyo and Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo to Shenzhen, China supposedly to play golf with officials of ZTE Corp., one of the proponents of the national broadband network project, in December 2006.

Read more>>

Lozada unfazed by move to cut out-of-town trips

May 24, 2008

NBN-ZTE star witness Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada yesterday said the Senate has told him to stop his out-of-town speaking trips, saying that it could no longer afford the expenses of providing security.

Lozada was unfazed. Told that there may have been Malacañang pressure to gag him, he said no amount of pressure or threats could force him to stop his crusade.

“Tuloy pa rin ang krusada at wala na itong atrasan,” he said.

The Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) which has taken Lozada under its protection was disappointed.

Sr. Estrella Castalone branded the order as a “way to scare off” potential witnesses from coming out in the open against corruption in the administration.

Read more>>

Witness ‘Alex’ missing; NBN probe to push on with ‘Joe’

May 19, 2008

All too suddenly, ZTE-National Broadband Network (NBN) scam witness, known only by his alias “Alex,” has gone missing, according to his handler Iloilo Vice Gov. Rolex Suplico who only a week ago claimed that Alex was being guided by him to recognize the pressure styles of Malacañang while in a safehouse Suplico had arranged.

Yesterday, the opposition vice governor suddenly informed media that his witness had gone missing and that he has not been able to get in touch with Alex, in a broad hint that his witness would not be testifying before the Senate.

But opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson appeared unfazed by the missing witness, saying even if Alex is no longer going to testify, the hearing will go on, as there is still another witness whom he called “Joe” who can testify on the Shenzhen visit.

Read more>>

Roxas presses House to omit VAT on oil, electricity

May 16, 2008

Sen. Mar Roxas yesterday urged the House of Representatives to take its cue from the administration and start deliberations on proposals to suspend or remove the value-added tax (VAT) on oil products and on energy.

“Our economy is slowing down because everyday, the disposable income of every consumer continues to shrink due to high oil, food and energy costs. They are crying out for im-mediate relief which can only take place if we amend the VAT law,” he said.

While Mala-cañang claimed the other day to be studying the elimination of the VAT on oil products, which has caused pump prices to skyrocket, as well as a means of bringing down the high cost of electric power that has caused Filipinos so much misery, the Palace also claimed that the Department of Finance was against the idea of eliminating the VAT on oil products.

Read more>>

NBN witnesses set to undergo screening

May 15, 2008

A tight screening process for witnesses to the scandal-tainted and corruption-laced ZTE National Broadband Network whistleblowers is now de rigeur in the Senate prior to its presentation of witnesses at hearings yet to be scheduled.

But even as this appears to be a consensus among senators, there were fears raised that their insistence in having the witness provide an affidavit in advance for the legislators to examine and deem fit for a Senate hearing would merely provide Malacañang aides and allies the opportunity to know the identity of the witnesses in advance and work on the witness to recant, either through bribery or threats.

Such moves have been made in the past by Malacañang to ensure the cover-up of the crime.

Read more>>

Next Page »