Neri was ready to talk about ZTE
By Juliet Labog-Javellana
Inquirer Posted date: September 29, 2007
MANILA, Philippines–Behind closed doors, Romulo Neri was “on the verge” of telling senators the rest of his explosive story on the supposed lobbying and bribery in the $329-million telecommunications deal with China’s ZTE Corp. when an administration senator and a Cabinet member intervened, several Inquirer sources said Saturday.
The former secretary general of the National Economic and Development Authority reportedly told a friend before the executive (or closed-door) session that followed the Wednesday hearing at the Senate that what he knew could “possibly” lead to the “downfall” of his boss, President Macapagal-Arroyo.
According to the four sources of the Inquirer, Neri was ready to answer the senators’ questions when Sen. Joker Arroyo intervened. (The sources all declined to speak on the record in deference to the gag rule governing executive sessions.)
Arroyo reportedly made a motion to allow Neri to avail himself of the legal counsel of his choice.
“I think he tried to help” was how a source explained Arroyo’s purported move.
On the phone last night, Arroyo denied that he had intervened. XXX
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Sigh. I haven’t really mustered the energy to write about ZTE, because well, what’s there to write about that no one has written about? It’s cut-and-dried cheating and stealing and hooliganism, involving the usual suspects behaving completely in character. (The only surprise of the day was nice, upright, plain-Jane Luli now angry and politically-incorrect. Duck your head girl, magkakabukol ka sa boomerang. Blagaaak. Ayan. Sabi ko na.)
But this news article about Joker is, well, different. At least for me. I had really believed (or wanted to believe) that when push comes to shove, Joker would be on the side of truth and integrity and the Filipino people. He fought Martial Law, that has to count for something. While I did not vote for him in the 2007 elections, I still held on to the belief that somehow, someday, he would be able to redeem himself and that this was just some temporary madness.
But now this. Oh well. Heroes with feet of clay.
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My horoscope for the month of October. Syempre napaisip ako.
We don’t say what we ought to say. We say what we think we ought to say. Then we wonder why nobody understands us. And, because others are equally coy about their own deepest truths, we end up knowing little about the folk we are supposed to be closest to. Even when we really try to bare our souls, we are not used to being honest. We don’t know how to find the right words. And we often suspect that our statements are not likely to be welcomed. Why rock all those boats, when it is so much easier to leave the sleeping dogs alone. In October, you get a choice. Lay it on the line for the sake of a better tomorrow, or live a lie for the sake of an easier today.