Gina de Venecia: JdV will testify on all GMA corrupt deals

June 9, 2008

He will definitely spill the whole beans, and not just focus on the ZTE-NBN kickbacks.

Even as he is undergoing a full medical check-up in a Singapore hospital, ousted Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. won’t back off from testifying before the Senate to tell all he knows about the corruption-ridden deals allegedly entered into by the presidential spouses, Gloria Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.

This was relayed to the Tribune yesterday, through a brief telephone interview with Gina de Venecia, wife of the former Speaker, who said her husband wanted to be sure that he is in the best of health before he testifies because “it is definitely going to be a long-drawn war with the Arroyos once he starts testifying to all he knows.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Palace claims Lopezes using diversionary tactics through ads

May 15, 2008

By Sherwin C. Olaes - Its an ironic twist, it is now Malacañang accusing the Lopezes of engaging in diversionary tactics after the family’s patriarch, Oscar Lopez, sought in full-page advertisements that appeared in major newspapers the removal of the sales tax on electricity and the huge royalties on natural gas supplied from the Malampaya field to lower power rates.

Engaging the Lopezes in a battle over the supposed high electricity rates from the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) was believed to have been resorted to by President Arroyo to deflect growing criticisms against her after testimonies before the Senate linked her directly to the anomalous National Broadband Network (NBN)-ZTE controversy.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol said the Lopez demand that appeared in the advertisements was a diversionary tactic.

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