NBN Scandal: “Sec, may 200 ka dito.”

Romulo Neri, the current chair of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) dropped a bombshell at the Senate hearing last week, September 26th, saying that Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. allegedly offered him a bribe worth PhP200 million to “facilitate the approval of the NBN project.” The bribe incident allegedly happened around January of this year at the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club while he and Abalos were alone together on a golf cart. He quoted Abalos saying: “Sec., may 200 ka dito.” Neri was at that time the director general of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

What’s interesting to note is that Neri also testified that when the bribe incident happened, and on the advice of his lawyers, he mentioned Abalos’ offer to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a phone conversation. Whereby the president told him not to accept the bribe.

A bribe is a bribe no matter how small or big it is, right? The question is, was there anything done about this? Okay, so Neri is asked to turn down the bribe offer, and then what? He still approves the proposal? You can only imagine the increasing number of questions being formed at the minds of anyone intent on seeking the truth.

And so, until all the questions bugging concerned Filipinos are answered, the shroud of secrecy will continue to put the government in a bad light.

Related Blog Entries:
The Abalos Scandal: ZTE and the National Broadband Network (NBN)
ZTE NBN Conspiracy Theories

Inquirer.net – Neri admits Abalos

Priceless: The night we helped our mom pack

After weeks of helping my mom pack up at Subic in preparation for her migration to the US, it felt really weird going to my brother’s place in Quezon City to pick up all of her luggages for her Saturday morning flight.

I went there alone since Conne had to stay home to take care of our toddler, CJ, who had the flu. Present at the time were my uncle Dennis (my mom’s brother), Ding (my youngest brother), Emily (Ding’s wife), Cel (my brother Bong’s wife), and my nephews – Purple, Jervis and Indigo.

The evening turned out to be an emotional roller coaster of sorts brought about by the evening’s bout of stories, misunderstanding, arguments, tears, forgiveness and laughter. But everyone could tell that the overwhelming emotion present throughout that night was love.

The night ended with a prayer, a very heartfelt one.

On the way home, I dropped off my uncle at his place and dropped off Cel and Jervis at theirs.

As I rode home alone in silence, with the midnight darkness blanketing everything, in the drizzling rain, with no companion save my mom’s things, and with the after effects of that emotional night, my whole life flashed before me throughout that drive – and as I rounded the corner near our home, I knew then how extremely lucky I really am to have a good family behind me and a wonderful new stage in our lives ahead of us. I smiled.

Dengue fever blues

After just recently recovering from Pneumonitis a few weeks back, I unfortunately came down with Dengue fever last week and so had to take some extended time off from work. This has definitely been a bad month for me, health-wise. 🙁

I had to make sure that I was completely hydrated, thanks to my Gatorade regimen, and that I had to regularly take in medicine for my fever and flu.

After a few days of on and off fever, my initial lab results showed that my platelet count was way below normal.

I’m glad I’m doing better now. Thank God.

Happy Birthday – Bong, Ding and Melvin!

I just want to greet Happy Birthday to my brothers Bong and Ding and my nephew Melvin (Bong’s son)! All of them were born on September 19th. It’s such an amazing coincidence, eh?

May the Lord continue to bless you and your families always! God Bless!

Indiana Jones 4: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Are you an Indiana Jones fan? If you are one, just like me, then guess what, the man with the hat is back! (Or better yet, the man with the bullwhip, fedora, leather jacket and morbid fear of snakes!)

The newest Indy film that is currently under production is entitled Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Harrison Ford reprises his role as Dr. Indiana Jones, a fictional professor, archaeologist and adventurer. The film is set in the 1950’s.

The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and is produced by George Lucas under Lucasfilm, Ltd..

ZTE NBN conspiracy theories

This is yet another blog on the ongoing Abalos scandal allegations. Because of the lack of transparency in the dubious deal brokered between the Philippine government and Chinese firm, ZTE Corporation, you can’t fault people if they make highly spectacular and weird assumptions. Everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion. In short, “It’s fair game.”

And so, due to lack of transparency, these are “5 Hypothetical, Tongue-in-cheek Reasons Why the ZTE NBN Deal Should Be Junked.”

5. On the wake of Mattel’s recall of about 19 million alleged China-made toys worldwide, detractors fear that copper-based network wirings that will be installed by Chinese firm, ZTE, might end up being replaced with lead. “Well, uhm, you know, uhm, Superman can’t see through lead! How’s that for security? ;-p”

4. The $329 million deal comes with a stipulation that the Philippines relinquish its claim of the “Spratly Group of Islands” in favor of China. It’s a “phone for fish” trade.

3. The almost $200 million worth of alleged bribes comes with a stipulation that all allegedly recalled and rejected China-made toys in the US be diverted to the Philippine market, which also includes lifting the “White Rabbit Candy” ban. Tit-for-Tat.

2. Implementing the National Broadband Network claims to reduce the government’s phone call expenditure to a minimum, since inter-department calls will be via Voice-over-IP (VoIP) – unlimited and free. Aside from the savings in phone calls, the government would also save on costs for hiring and training espionage personnel and paying certain unscrupulous telco employees for its alleged phone tapping activities (well, at least tapping is limited to government agencies). A bit of code here and a few system commands there, and viola!, all calls are recorded and logged into a central database. “Hello Gar.. er.. Pap.. er.. bye!”

And, the top hypothetical reason for junking the deal is:

1. Broadband? Whaddya mean broadband? Here? In the Philippines? Duh! I’ve had enough of hearing broadband. NBN = No Broadband Now. Better rename the project: National Dial-up Network (NDN) dude. It’ll have the same speed and cost us less.

Related Blog Entries:
The Abalos Scandal: ZTE and the National Broadband Network (NBN)
NBN Scandal: “Sec, may 200 ka dito.”

The Abalos Scandal: ZTE and the National Broadband Network (NBN)

One of the hottest news items currently circulating around, aside from the Wowowee Wilyonaryo scam allegations, is that of the involvement of Philippine COMELEC Chairman, Benjamin Abalos Sr. in the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN) Project deal involving ZTE Corporation.

The $329-million NBN Project aims to interconnect all Philippine national and local government agencies, including the “barangay” offices of all local government units (LGUs). This is expected to enhance the delivery of services to the people by reducing the time used for waiting for decisions and replies to queries.

News reports have it that ZTE Corp. allegedly won the NBN Project bid because of huge bribes or pay-outs given to certain government officials in addition to some “maneuvering” done by Chairman Abalos on behalf of ZTE. They won even though the proposal was said to be grossly over-priced when compared to other NBN Project bid offers submitted by other entities such as Amsterdam Holdings, Inc. ($240 million) and Arescom ($130 million).

ZTE Corporation is China’s largest listed telecommunications manufacturer and wireless solutions provider. Founded in 1985, ZTE Corporation has been listed as an A-Share company on Shenzhen Stock Exchange since 1997 (click here).

Related Blog Entries:
NBN Scandal: “Sec, may 200 ka dito.”
ZTE NBN Conspiracy Theories

Inquirer.net – Teves: Abalos set meeting with ZTE
The Manila Times – Teves: Abalos at ZTE meeting

Wowowee Wilyonaryo: The senate probe

It appears that a resolution has already been passed in the Philippine Senate to formally investigate the alleged Wowowee Wilyonaryo “scam”.

Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas filed Resolution No. 111 last Monday, September 3rd. The resolution seeks an inquiry on the alleged game-fixing scam that occurred on the P2-million “Wilyonaryo” segment of the above-mentioned TV show.

Related Blog Entries:
Wowowee Wilyonaryo: What was the Design Flaw?
The Wowowee Wilyonaryo “Scam”