Was Sen. Mar Roxas "bastos" on Senate probe?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | posted in , , , , , , | 0 comments

In Boo Chanco's DEMAND AND SUPPLY column last September 21, 2007 entitled "ZTE scandal more dangerous than Garci", he commended Senator Mar Roxas. This is what he said:
"Sen. Mar Roxas should be commended for asking the most incisive and relevant questions during last Tuesday’s hearings, using very clear language. Sen. Roxas demolished the assertion of the former Chairman of the Commission on Information Technology and Communication (CICT) that the broadband project is going to deliver savings for the government.

Sen. Roxas got the former bureaucrat to admit that the savings figure he was using was provided by DOTC Secretary Mendoza which he has not verified himself. Back of the envelop computations of Sen. Roxas showed the figure was wrong. Garbage In, Garbage out, Sen. Roxas declared."
Indeed, the questions that Sen. Roxas made were "incisive" and "relevant" and it helped us to fully understand why we need to establish a National Broadband Network through an anomalous deal with China. Others may have misinterpreted his style of questioning. I have read a forum post saying that Sen. Roxas was "bastos" (impolite, harsh) when he was questioning DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) Assistant Secretary Lorenzo Formoso. With that style of questioning, he was able to pressure Asec. Formoso to explain the deal clearly. Here are the excerpts of Sen. Roxas' query on Asec. Formoso and DOTC Sec. Leandro Mendoza:
MAR: There are only 1,500 or 1,600 [fifth and sixth class] municipalities, so ilan kaya dito ang wala pang access? Sinasabi ni Mr. Formoso ang siyang isa sa pinakamahalagang dahilan kung bakit gagastos tayo ng 15 billion para maabot nga itong mga ito.

Formoso: Ah sir, I will submit the numbers and the list, your honor.

MAR: It is only 1,500, is it 30, 50, 60, 100, 1000?

Formoso: I won't be speculating sir. I will give you a breakdown first?

MAR: Ang galing mo dumepensa nito, Attorney Formoso. Ngayong tinatanong ka ilan ho ba itong gusto mong silbihan nitong broadband na ito, nakalimutan mo, hindi mo alam? Ano ba ito? It is only 1,500, is it 5, 10, 100? It is so notable a number that the entire government machinery is here to defend this deal supposedly to reach the fourth, fifth and sixth municipalities that don't have telco access.

My question is very simple, there are more or less 1,500 municipalities, how many of them do not have telco access at the present whether by landline, cellphone, satellite or whatever?

Formoso: I don't have that number sir?
At least, Sen. Roxas was able to prove that the NBN deal was impractical. The DOTC can't even assess the practicality of the project. No one was even tasked to assess the cost of the tools to be used in the project to easily determine if there was overpricing.
Others call it GRANDSTANDING, we call it MAKING A STAND. Sen. Roxas is doing this so that the people would know on where he stands on this issue. Let's take the argument of his critics. They say that he's doing this because he has his own personal motives. Even if it would be true that his personal motives told him to do so, should we ignore seeking the truth? If you say yes, then what would happen to our society and to our government?
Again, it's not GRANDSTANDING, it's called MAKING A STAND.

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Kevin Ray N. Chua

Kevin Ray N. Chua is a 19 year-old blogger from Cebu City, Philippines and an IT Student at Cebu Institute of Technology.

He is currently the Secretary General of the CIT-SSG.

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