Roxas to PGMA: Full disclosure needed on ZTE visit in Shenzen, China

Thursday, May 15, 2008 | posted in , , , , , | 0 comments

Senator Mar Roxas called on President Arroyo to address the people and tell the truth about her trip to Shenzhen, China to meet with ZTE Corp. officials in November of 2006, a few months before the government decided to award the contract for the National Broadband Network (NBN) to ZTE.

Roxas, one of the co-chairs of the Senate probe into the ZTE-NBN controversy, reminded President Arroyo that all public officials are bound by 'delicadeza' not to meet or hobnob with prospective suppliers or other interested parties in government projects while contracts are still pending.

"Out of delicadeza and to protect the integrity and dignity of her office, the President should have avoided such a social visit knowing fully well that a multi-million supply contract was up for consideration by the NEDA Board which she chairs," he said.
The Liberal Party President advised Palace executives not to brush aside the meeting simply as a 'private social meeting,' especially as the Office of the President is imbued with the highest public interest.

"All official activities of the President are imbued with public interest and subject to full transparency, unless they involve sensitive matters of national security, which was not the case in the Shenzhen visit," he said.
Roxas explained that at the heart of this controversy—marred by allegations of corruption and bribery—is the decision of the NEDA-ICC to shift its procurement preference for the NBN, from build-operate-transfer to a straight-out government loan.

"Until now, we are still awaiting the Supreme Court's decision regarding our petition to release of the NEDA-ICC documents so we could see what magic happened there. The President must explain directly the agenda and nature of her trip to Shenzhen otherwise this social encounter might be misconstrued as the reason behind the sudden shift from a BOT project to a supply contract with a sovereign guarantee," he stressed.

"Nakakalungkot na ang Pangulo pa mismo ang dumalaw sa headquarters ng ZTE Corp. sa Tsina. Kahit na sabihin pang 'social meeting' lang ito, mahirap namang may ibang standard ang Pangulo at mas mahigpit na standard sa mga nasa mababang posisyon ng pamahalaan," he added.



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Kevin Ray N. Chua

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