A Disgrace

The moves of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration to wriggle itself free from the latest corruption scandal it is enmeshed in are clear: making a show that the Macapagal Arroyo administration does not tolerate onerous contracts – the President herself suspended the implementation of the ZTE contract even if the Supreme Court had already issued a temporary restraining order earlier; making a show of seriousness in putting a stop to these corruption scandals – the President suspended all contracts with China and created a body to study all contracts signed with it; making a show that the President is serious in investigating the disadvantageous NBN contract – the President “orders” her Cabinet and Neri to appear before the Senate investigation, even as it initially threatened to invoke Executive Order 460 but backtracked when it saw the probable political backlash if it refuses to face the investigation; and shielding the President from being linked to the onerous deal – Neri implicates Abalos and invokes executive privilege when the line of questioning is leading towards the doorsteps of Malacanang.

Clearly, Abalos would have to take the fall. Impeachment proceedings are being prepared against him. And even administration representatives are joining moves to have Abalos impeached making its success an almost certainty. Only time is on Abalos’s side because he would be retiring in February and his impeachment may not be completed before then. In any case, Abalos would be leaving government in disgrace.

Corrupt governments operate like the mafia. There is a shroud of secrecy; but when it is in serious trouble, somebody must take the fall to control the damage and protect the godfather from being implicated. Abalos is without doubt involved in trying to have the onerous contract with ZTE approved. It is a certainty that he tried to bribe people to have it passed without complications. But Abalos is only a “broker.” He can only “facilitate” matters. He has no approving authority over such contracts. Only somebody higher could have it approved.

Abalos must have expected that the NBN contract with ZTE would be his retirement “award” or “insurance.” It turned out to be his downfall. But unless the Senate digs deeper or brings its investigations into the anomaly higher up the hierarchy, somebody would still be laughing his or her way to the bank. If the Senate “backs off” and stops at Abalos, then the Filipino people may have to make the masterminds and primary beneficiaries in these corruption scandals accountable. Otherwise, we would have to pay for these with our taxes. (Bulatlat.com)

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