[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 7 February 2008 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Feb 7 17:38:46 PHT 2008

Newsbriefs 7 February 2008 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


Senate to resume NBN deal inquiry Friday (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Government official Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada Jr. will reveal all he knows about the scrapped $329 million national broadband network deal before the Senate when it resumes its inquiry on the contract on Friday. 


Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee investigating the NBN deal scandal, said the hearings will resume 10 a.m. Friday.


In an earlier interview, Cayetano said his committee is also waiting for two more witnesses to surface. He said both witnesses are afraid of suffering Lozada's fate.


Lozada, a consultant in the broadband deal, has corroborated claims that former poll chief Benjamin Abalos Sr. tried to pocket millions of dollars in kickbacks from the NBN deal. The public official had also hinted at presidential spouse First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo's involvement in the deal.


Lozada also accused the police and the Arroyo administration of abducting him to prevent his testimony at the Senate. 

DOTC disputes Lozada's claims, backs NBN deal (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications on Thursday disputed the disclosures made by Rodolfo Lozada Jr. about the alleged irregularities in the scrapped national broadband network (NBN) deal.  


DOTC Assistant Secretary Lorenzo Formoso III denied that the deal between the Philippine government and China's ZTE Corp. was overpriced. 


Formoso, head of the DOTC's technical working committee, explained that the project's original costs of $262 million went up to $329 million because the initial amount would only cover 30 percent of the country. 


He added that bringing the costs to only $329 million to cover 100 percent of the country "should be an achievement by itself."


Lozada not abducted, in school all along, gov't insists (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) Rodolfo Lozada Jr., the witness in the Senate inquiry on the national broadband network controversy, requested for police security and was at the La Salle Greenhills campus in Mandaluyong City, east of Manila, all along, government officials insisted Thursday.

At a news conference in Malacañang, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Avelino Razon Jr., and Environment Secretary Lito Atienza presented two letters to back up their claim.

The first letter, supposedly hand-written by Lozada himself, had the ex-Philippine Forests Corp. president asking Razon for security when he arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Hong Kong on February 5.

The second letter, also dated February 5, was supposedly written by Lozada's sister, Carmen Lozada, asking the Police Security and Protection Office (PSPO) to secure her brother.

SC issues writ of amparo for Lozada (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


The Supreme Court on Thursday granted the petition for a writ of amparo filed by the brother of Senate witness Rodolfo Lozada Jr., former chief executive of the Philippine Forest Corporation. 


Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez said the high tribunal granted the petition filed by Lozada's brother, Arthur, after the government official was whisked away by police officers upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Tuesday afternoon. 


He said the court has set a hearing for the amparo writ on February 14. 


"In [the writ of] amparo, we want to know if Lozada was indeed taken against his will and if there is a continuing threat on his life and liberty," Marquez told radio dzMM. 

Lozada revelations hailed by Arroyo critics (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Critics of President Arroyo on Thursday hailed Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada Jr. , chairman and chief executive of the Philippine Forest Corporation, for revealing what he knows about alleged irregularities in the scrapped $329-million national broadband network deal between the government and China's ZTE Corp. 


Ousted speaker Jose De Venecia Jr., whose son Joey first exposed the alleged overpricing of the NBN deal, said Lozada's statements corroborate many of the testimonies given to the Senate regarding the deal. 


"Lozada's statements mean Joey's statement at the Senate has credence and gives weight to my valedictory speech I gave in Congress. The appearance of my son in the Senate caused my downfall in Congress and possibly from the party I founded," de Venecia said in a statement. 


Palace rejects resign, snap polls calls  (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- Malacañang rejected Thursday calls for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to resign or call for snap elections in the wake of revelations by Rodolfo Lozada, a witness to the alleged overprice of the $329-million contract for China's ZTE Corp. for the national broadband network (NBN) project.

At the same time, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye questioned the motives of senators for pursuing the NBN controversy, accusing them of being driven by politics and not the need to craft legislation.

"If there is clear evidence of wrongdoing, file [charges] before the appropriate forum, before the Ombudsman. Let's not resort to grandstanding," Bunye told a news conference at the Palace.

De Venecia: Arroyo family 'used public funds' in ouster (Agence France-Presse)

MANILA, Philippines -- Ouster House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. told foreign correspondents that Arroyo's husband, two sons and a brother-in-law bribed legislators using public funds to oust him from the post he held for 13 years.

The once staunch political ally of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday reiterated his readiness to expose widespread corruption within the administration.

De Venecia said his ouster was a "personal vendetta" of the Arroyos because his son, Jose III, blew the whistle on an allegedly overpriced telecoms deal between the government and China's state-run ZTE firm in which certain officials were supposedly promised kickbacks.

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