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JDV 'very happy' ZTE deal has been cancelled

October 3, 2007 10:25am

House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr on Wednesday welcomed President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's decision to scrap the government's $329.5-million contract with China's ZTE Corp. for the implementation of the national broadband network (NBN) project.

De Venecia, whose son Joey is a co-owner of the losing proponent in the NBN project, said he had been fighting for the cancellation of the contract since such a project should have been under a build-operate-transfer scheme.

"Ako'y masayang masaya ngayong umaga kasi kinansel ni Presidente ang contract. Ito pinaglaban kong matagal, dapat BOT o kung hindi, cancel ang contract (I am very happy that the president canceled the contract. I had been fighting for this, that it should be build-operate-transfer. Otherwise, it should be canceled)," he said in an interview on dzBB radio.

De Venecia said that with the cancellation of the contract, the government has saved "about P15 billion."

In the same interview, De Venecia also laughed off threats to unseat him as Speaker, saying talks of a coup against the House leadership are mere "diversionary tactics."

"Ang sinasabing bali-balita riyan those are diversionary attacks… Dapat ginawa sa akin yan 2 months ago, 3 months ago, 6 months ago (The reported plot to unseat me is just a diversionary attacks...They should have pushed through with their plan two months ago three months ago six months ago)," De Venecia said.

"There will always be 1 or 2 or 3 recalcitrants. We're not worried at all... pinagpapasensyahan ko na lang (I'll just be patient with them)," he added.

For his part, Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II said the government avoided further embarrassment and "domestic turmoil" with the President's decision to scrap the controversial ZTE deal.

This, as he noted the need to tighten the government's approval process for foreign-aided and funded projects to "protect the people's money" against similar disadvantageous deals.

However, Roxas said that his committee will continue to conduct hearings on the ZTE deal, as part of efforts to improve legislation governing government projects.

"President Arroyo acted wisely in canceling the ZTE contract. This will save the nation from further international embarrassment and domestic turmoil. This project should never have been started nor approved in the first place," Roxas said.

"The Procurement Law has to be improved by ensuring all government projects have to go through bidding and/or check and balance processes. The Senate trade committee which I chair shall continue to pursue this issue in aid of legislation," he added. - GMANews.TV
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