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PIA Press Release
2008/02/13

Malacanang stops DOJ's ZTE probe to give way to Ombudsman

Manila (13 February) -- Malacanang said today it will stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from pursuing its investigation of the cancelled national broadband network (NBN)-ZTE project since the Office of the Ombudsman is already conducting a probe of the matter.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said during his regular Wednesday press conference at the New Executive Building (NEB) in Malacaņang that as early as last week, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct an investigation into the cancelled NBN-ZTE deal to pinpoint those who may be held liable for violation of procurement and anti-graft laws.

But he pointed out that since the Ombudsman is an independent body, "the DOJ should not pursue" its investigation of the case and instead "ipaubaya na" (give way) to the Ombudsman.

Before the President's directive to the DOJ, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye said that "if there is any clear evidence of wrongdoing, the appropriate forum would be the courts, particularly the Sandiganbayan or the Ombudsman."

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez was reported to have created a panel to investigate several cases filed with her office concerning the NBN-ZTE deal that was scrapped by the President last year.

Gutierrez was quoted to have said that the panel she created will begin holding public hearings on the ZTE contract next week. (OPS) [top]

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