[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 2 October Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Oct 2 12:15:39 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 2 October 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



$329-M deal zaps Abalos ((Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- The $329-million broadband scandal that has hounded President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration for weeks claimed its first casualty -- or sacrificial lamb as some critics put it -- when Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos resigned Monday.

"I have come to the painful determination that the time has come to separate my person from the office I now occupy," said Abalos, 72, who has been accused of offering bribes while brokering the allegedly overpriced National Broadband Network (NBN) project with China's ZTE Corp.

"I am resigning the chairmanship of the Comelec effective immediately," Abalos said to applause from a noisy crowd gathered at his residence in Mandaluyong City that gave the news conference the trappings of a victory party instead of a somber air of defeat.

Abalos resignation stops House impeachment case (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- His resignation has brought the impeachment case against him to an abrupt end, but he is not yet off the hook.

Not only does resigned Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos face criminal charges, the congressional inquiry into the $329-million contract for the National Broadband Network (NBN) project, which he is accused of brokering, will also continue.

Lawmakers Monday welcomed the unexpected resignation of Abalos, saying that it will spare the Comelec from another controversy

Gov't tells high court ZTE offered the best deal (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- The government defended in the Supreme Court its decision to award to China's ZTE Corp. the $329-million contract for the National Broadband Network (NBN) project, saying the firm had offered the best deal.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), which represents the government, decried the "lurid stories" that it said obscured the truth about the agreement.

The OSG, impleaded in the petitions to stop the NBN deal with the Chinese firm, also said in its comment that the agreement was aboveboard, did not need to undergo a public bidding because it was to be implemented via an executive agreement, and offered savings for the government


End ZTE probe, Palace urges Senate (www.philstar.com) 

Malacañang and Cabinet officials who underwent intense grilling at the Senate appealed yesterday to senators to wrap up their investigation into the scandal-ridden $329-million national broadband project with ZTE Corp. of China.

Presidential Management Staff chief Cerge Remonde and Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. in separate interviews however stressed that they are not dictating to the senators.

"We cannot dictate to the Senate but it appears that they (senators) want to pin down the President through this investigation even with testimony to the contrary," Remonde said in a telephone interview


Arroyo starts 2-day visit to China (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


President Arroyo left the country Tuesday morning for a two-day visit to China amid controversies in the $ 329-million national broadband network (NBN) project to be funded by a Chinese government loan.

Mrs. Arroyo left on board Philippine Airlines flight PR 001 at 5:40 a.m. 

She was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye and a team of business experts. 
Mrs. Arroyo is set to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Xijao Guest House in Shanghai.


Palace declares Eid Al-Fitr holiday (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) Malacañang has declared October 12 a non-working holiday to mark Eid Al-Fitr, the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye made the announcement in a text message to reporters Monday.

Eid'l Fitre marks the end of the 40 days of fasting for Muslims.

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