the ZTE deal: corruption, the First Couple and the Cabinet of Cons

luli arroyo, daughter of FG Mike and Prez Gloria, today likened jose ‘joey’ de venecia III‘s (jdv3) expose on the controversial ZTE national broadband deal to the thinning hair on his head. before luli and other apologists for the First Couple water down the issue with more name-calling and trivialities, let’s make sense out of the whole hullabaloo for what it really is.

first off, some very helpful reads:

studentstrike prepared a primer detailing the chain of events and rendezvous surrounding the ZTE deal. Agham (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People), meanwhile, highlights the need for a genuine national information network, not a network of lies, corruption and kickbacks. read also jdv3’s opening statement at the Senate and his sworn affidavit submitted to the Senate; and how Arroyo’s foes and allies are reacting to it.

why are we not surprised? while jdv3’s testimony is agreeably explosive enough, especially (and ironically) so for sectors with broadband access, the masa has long regarded graft and corruption within the Arroyo administration as a ‘given,’ a constant in the configuration of the present government. had we not figured in the list of the ‘most corrupt’ in Asia? we have so gotten used to FG Mike’s name being dragged into numerous controversies that even the Arroyo administration evades accountability by letting FG fend for himself, as if he and his business concerns only him as a ‘private citizen.’ this time around is different though.

this, perhaps, is what makes the ZTE deal sta
nd out from the rest. this time, jdv3, though obviously loathe to admit it, declared under sworn oath that Prez Gloria knows about the whole deal. that she, in fact, was present when they were discussing the proposal with ZTE execs in China. jdv3 had no qualms, despite his theatrics (‘it is with a heavy heart…’), to identify FG as the mystery man but his account falls short when asked of the involvement of Prez Gloria herself.

another significance is the involvement and exposure of what seems to be Arroyo’s very own Cabinet of Cons, reminiscent of Erap’s Midnight Cabinet of yore. it should be questioned why Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos fits in the whole brouhaha, when his agency has no reason to meddle in matters of such. so they were golf partners, so what? why has he suddenly emerged as the ‘powerful broker’ influencing government contracts?

quite interestingly, Speaker de Venecia, jdv3’s father and Arroyo’s known political ally, has remained ‘silent’ through the unfolding of events. isn’t he part of the so-called Malacanang ‘inner circle’? why not speak out and divulge what he knows instead of just saying that his son is ‘his own person’?

what is unfolding really is a power play, and a dangerous one for the First Couple, between pawns of the same color. the continuing Senate inquiry is a very crucial venue to squeeze out juicier details of the controversy. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee and known foe of FG, may not show it but he is sure to be beside himself with glee. finally, here comes a person who is willing to talk about government anomalies and not be hindered by Palace tactics and threats. and why not? jdv3 IS after all the Speaker of the House’s son.

but more importantly, the clamor for truth and transparency should come from the public. corruption of government officials is an accountability not only to the Supreme Court, a diversion from public dissent that Prez Gloria is trying to put forth, but to taxpayers, the Filipino people.

jdv3’s bombshell also reminds us of how chronic corruption has narrowed down potential kickbacks for those in the ruling clique that they are now resorting to fighting among themselves. the Arroyo administration is currently experiencing a political crisis, one that it cannot just as easily brush off as the ones before it. indicator: as of press time, she has allowed all involved Cabinet members to attend the following ZTE inquiries.

heads will roll and something’s gotta give. ###

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