Thursday, October 04, 2007

Questions, Taints and Paints

The Black and White Movement says it all:


In the midst of heightened public anticipation of more revelations about the
ZTE scandal, and rising satisfaction in a Senate that is exercising its duty
to provide us check and balance, there is news that there will no longer be
any Senate hearings on this disgraceful issue until further notice. What's
up with that? The momentum is just maxing out. Who wants to pull the plug?

The onus falls squarely on the shoulders of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. As
chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, he calendars the hearings and
schedules the witnesses. His recent statements in the news have been
perceived by many as rather disturbing. Sen. Cayetano indicated that
witnesses may be unavailable to warrant the holding of a session, there are
no new witnesses to call, that nothing new may be revealed by witnesses like
Joey de Venecia. Moreover, he would like to give himself and a number of his
colleagues the opportunity to attend the IPU.

With respect, we find these reasons to be rather flimsy. After all, Jarius
Bondoc broke journalistic protocol and has published all the privileged
communications he had with Romulo Neri to point the Senate in new
directions. Regarding Romulo Neri - whatever happened to the Senate's plan
to challenge his invocation of executive privilege? What about Joey de
Venecia's recent claims against a prominent businessman?

In addition, we have yet to hear from First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. His
alleged involvement in this scandal should have peaked Sen. Cayetano's

The final reason of Sen. Cayetano seems to reflect a distorted sense of
priority. Is the planned attendance of a few legislators to an international
forum so important as to justify the postponement of the ZTE Contract

These lame excuses are uncharacteristic of the feisty oppositionist.
is everything. These excuses seem to lend credence to the flurry of text
messages alleging that Sen. Cayetano has discontinued the hearings at the
behest of a more senior Senator who is supposedly being pressured by the
influential businessman implicated in this scandal.

The announcement by GMA from China saying that the ZTE Deal is finally
cancelled should not be viewed as a successful cap on a contentious issue.

The Black & White Movement wants to be proven wrong. We hope to hear that
the hearings will be continued as soon as possible. There are many questions
left unanswered and the public deserves to know now. Is the First Gentleman
really involved and to what extent? How much does the President know? Is
she culpable? What actions did she take after Neri reported the attempted
bribery? How was the NBN project transformed from a BOT to a bilateral loan
agreement? Are there other personalities involved? These questions cannot
be left hanging.

When Sen. Cayetano broke ranks with the opposition to support the bid of
perceived pro-administration Manny Villar for the Senate Presidency, he
argued that he did so because of party affiliation. We understood. But this
time, the stakes are higher and people may not be as understanding.

The Black and White Movement humbly suggests that Sen. Cayetano heed the
example of President Manuel L. Quezon, "my loyalty to my party ends where my
loyalty to my country begins."

The Black & White Movement*

Contact: Vicente R. Romano III, 0920.961.5610
Leah Navarro, 0917.898.1957
4 October 2007

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