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ZTE controversy timeline


June 5, 2006: A Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of Philippines-China Economic Partnership was executed between the governments of the Philippines and China. NEDA Secretary Romulo L. Neri and DTI Secretary Peter B. Favila represented and the People's Republic of China, represented by Commerce Minister Bo Xilai. April 2007: Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza and ZTE Corp. Vice President Yu Yong entered into a US$ 329.5 million contract for a national broadband network (NBN) that will improve government communications capabilities. August 29, 2007: Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla disclosed in a privilege speech that COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos met with ZTE officials in China weeks before April 2007, apparently to broker for the NBN project: "Apparently, Chairman Abalos' unofficial trips to China courtesy of ZTE Corporation and his golf games with the officers of ZTE Corporation can hardly be characterized as just friendly and totally innocuous. He was a man on a mission. Could the mission be the US $329 million NBN project?" Padilla noted that there were two other private entities which signified their intention to build the NBN for the government. The project cost in these private companies' proposals were cheaper than ZTE's. August 30, 2007: Abalos denied brokering for the National Broadband Network project despite admitting he knows some officials in ZTE Corp. He admitted making four trips to China and playing golf there, but denied reports that he lobbied for the ZTE deal in exchange for money and sex. September 5, 2007: Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. filed a resolution calling for a Senate investigation into the circumstances leading to the approval of the broadband contract with ZTE Corp. September 10, 2007: In an affidavit, Jose De Venecia III* claimed that he was with Abalos in China when the latter met with ZTE officials. He claimed he heard Abalos demand for money from the ZTE officials. *De Venecia III is a majority shareholder of Amsterdam Holdings, Inc.. AHI submitted an unsolicited proposal to DOTC on the NBN project. De Venecia III is the son of House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. September 11, 2007: The Supreme Court en banc issued a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the controversial NBN contract between the Philippines and Chinese firm ZTE Corp. September 18, 2007: Testifying during a Senate hearing on the ZTE controversy, de Venecia III said FG Arroyo told him to "back off" from pursuing the multi-million dollar national broadband network project. September 20, 2007: Most cabinet members turned up at the Senate to watch the continuation of the Senate hearing on the ZTE controversy. DOTC Leandro Mendoza was able to attend the hearing, but former NEDA Director General Romulo Neri failed to show up because he was sick. September 22, 2007: President Arroyo suspended the ZTE deal. In a statement, Bunye said "On instructions of the President, Secretary Peter Favila conveyed to his counterpart the government's desire to suspend the implementation of the broadband deal." September 25, 2007: President Arroyo officially announced the suspension of the NBN and CyberEd projects: "We have suspended the national broadband and cyber education projects in response to political criticisms," she said. She also claimed that the alleged bribery was "discreetly investigated" and the "results of the investigations were reported as uncorroborated." (Gov.ph) September 26, 2007: Neri and Abalos faced off at the Senate hearing. Neri testified that Abalos told him "may 200 ka dito" while playing golf at Wack Wack Golf Club; they had been discussing the ZTE deal at that time. Abalos denied making the apparent bribe attempt. Neri later invoked executive privilege in response to some Senators' questions. September 27, 2007: The Senate continued its hearing with UP professors as invited resource speakers. September 28, 2007: Iloilo Vice Governor Rolex Suplico filed an impeachment complaint against Abalos at the House of Representatives. October 1, 2007: Abalos announced his resignation as COMELEC chairman. October 2, 2007: In a meeting in Shanghai, China, President Arroyo informed Chinese President Hu Jintao of her "difficult decision" to cancel ZTE Corp.'s contract for the NBN project. October 5, 2007: Atty. Roel Pulido filed an impeachment complaint against President Arroyo over her alleged involvement in the ZTE controversy. The complaint was endorsed by 4th District of Laguna Rep. Edgar San Luis. October 9, 2007: Akbayan filed a criminal complaint against Abalos before the Office of the Ombudsman. January 30, 2008: Neri and Philippine Forest Corp. President Rodolfo Noel Lozada did not attend the Senate hearing. Lozada left the country, apparently headed for London. Slighted by their non-appearance, the Senate issued warrants for their arrest. February 5, 2008: Lozada arrived at the NAIA but was spirited away from the airport by unidentified men. February 6, 2008: PNP admitted that Lozada is in their custody. February 7, 2008: Lozada resurfaced in La Salle Greenhills. In a pre-dawn press conference, Lozada recounted how, in his attempt to avoid testifying at the Senate, ended up being taken from the airport against his will. He spent the night at the Senate. February 8, 2008: Lozada testified at the Senate (see transcript here). Sources: Office of the President, Rep. Carlos Padilla's privilege speech, Jose de Venecia III's affidavit, GMANews.TV
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