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PIA Press Release
2007/09/21

Commentary: The NBN uproar

By Henry S. Lagasca

San Fernando City, La Union (21 September) -- The current Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings on the National Broadband Network (NBN) project have turned into the most-watched reality show on Philippine television.

The Senate hearings was prompted by media expose' about the alleged "bribery" by Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos offered to Jose de Venecia III, chief operating officer of Amsterdam Holdings, Inc. and a son of House Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr..

The NBN issue caused another "political hailstorm" when the younger de Venecia, during the first Senate hearing, mentioned the name of Abalos including the First Gentleman Mike Arroyo who were present during a conciliatory meeting at Wack Wack golf club in Mandaluyong, hence the Senate investigation to give an opportunity "to all sides to be heard."

The entire business community represented by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has joined Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales in calling for a fair investigation into the ZTE deal.

ZTE Corporation is China's giant telecommunications equipment provider specializing in customized network solutions for telecom carriers all over the world. The service it was supposed to undertake for the Philippines was to create a national broadband network that would provide instant communication with government offices in Manila linking all the cities, municipalities and barangays all over the country.

Amsterdam Holdings, ZTE's rival, also submitted its proposal to undertake the same project, and according to the younger de Venecia during the Senate hearings, at no cost for the government.

The Blue Ribbon Committee is zeroing in on the legality of the NBN contract, the alleged "bribery" and the alleged involvement of some high government officials in the NBN deal.

Aside from the Senate hearings, the case will eventually reach the Supreme Court.

So let us not speculate but to wait for the Supreme Court's decision on the matter.

Better, let's just wait for its finality. (PIA Region 1) [top]

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