Thursday, September 27, 2007

Romulo Neri - A Major Disappointment

Here are two recent press releases we issued in regard to recent Senate hearings on the scandal-ridden ZTE Broadband Deal. The first deals with our hope that Romulo Neri would find the moral conviction to tell the truth. The second release was sent out today in response to Neri's lack of candor (to put it mildly):

A Prayer for Romulo Neri

Cursed as we are with an administration wherein lying has become official policy, it is refreshing to see a possible exception in the making.

When asked about the controversial ZTE Deal, CHED Chairman Romulo Neri neither confirmed nor denied that, a) he was offered a P200M bribe by Abalos, b) he reported it to the President, c) the President ordered him to ignore the bribe but approve the project, and d) the First Gentleman had nothing to do with the suspicious contract, the people had good reason to rejoice.

Neither confirming nor denying assertions usually means the claims are true.

Our hopes were buoyed even more when he said he would tell the truth if and when asked in the right forum.

Tomorrow, Romulo Neri will testify at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the NBN contract – in our view the appropriate forum for the truth to be laid bare.

Public concern is at an all time high. Being inundated with texts of support from friends, classmates and strangers, all pleading with him to keep strong and retain his credibility by testifying truthfully, the erstwhile NEDA Secretary must be thinking that his declarations under oath may have serious political implications. Being an economic thinker and planner may have caused him to weigh the pros and cons of his potentially explosive testimony, and evaluate several scenarios that might result from his statements.

If we were allowed to read his mind, one scenario he could find nauseating would be that his declarations could lead to the downfall of the GMA administration, only to be replaced by people from a discredited regime, and/or by politicians and vested interest groups who will plunder this nation even more than it has by this incumbent regime. Fears like these may repulse him enough to balk and hold off from telling the truth.

Another guess is Chairman Neri may be asking himself, “Is all this risk really worth it?”

In answer to Chairman Romulo Neri, the Black & White Movement says, yes! Doing the right thing is always worth the risk. Being candid and forthright may not necessarily result in the state of affairs we all desire, but these acts of sincerity may facilitate liberation from the current culture of impunity under which we suffer.

Very few people are given the privilege to change the destiny of a nation. Chairman Neri, as they say in baseball parlance, “batter up”!

The Black and White Movement joins the rest of the nation in praying that Romulo Neri will be blessed with the courage and patriotism to do the right thing and give us the home run we all pray for. Let the truth set you free! Mabuhay ka! - - END

Of Truth and Heroic Acts

What we heard from erstwhile NEDA Secretary Romulo at yesterday’s senate hearing on the ZTE Deal was not exactly the entire truth. Whatever the amount of truth told, the result was glaring – truth diluted, if not polluted.

When witnesses are sworn, they are asked to tell “the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. Partial truth telling is never good enough.

When Neri fearlessly revealed the bribery attempt of Abalos during a golf game, we exulted. Finally, the truth from a credible person, an alter ego of the President, we all thought. Maybe Neri would ultimately live up to being the hero the people hoped he would be, was the following thought. But the second he started invoking executive privilege on behalf of his “principal”, all notions of Neri being a hero quickly vanished.

Why would Neri be completely truthful regarding the alleged bribe attempt by Chairman Abalos, but terribly evasive when it came to his conversations regarding the bribe with GMA? Was he trying to protect his President? Or was he cowering in fear for his life? We’d like to think that his reticence was for the latter reason.

We surmise that he fears, if not for his life, then for the possible national instability that his testimony might trigger so Neri decided to mitigate the imagined risk by invoking executive privilege.

The Black & White Movement wishes to let Romulo Neri know that his risk-aversion strategy really sucked.

Executive privilege and its mean sisters, EO 464 and MO 108, hinder our search for truth. The Senate should exorcise timidity and legalistic stonewalling from the body politic. Astute legal observers opine that GMA has already been implicated in a betrayal of public trust.

It took some time for Joey de Venecia to find the hero inside him, to muster the courage to implicate the First Gentleman and Chairman Abalos as part of the ZTE deal. It takes soul searching and earnest resolve to overcome fear under extraordinary circumstances. There is still time for fearless candor from Neri. Careful thought might direct him to follow Mr. de Venecia’s example.

Senator Lacson prodded Neri, counseling that Neri might be squandering his defining moment, Neri curtly replied, “Let me be the judge of that”. The Black & white Movement disagrees with Chairman Neri. It is ultimately history that will judge your actions. And you, Chairman Neri, may still have an opportunity to shape that judgment – whether to be a hero or a heel. - - END


DJB Rizalist said...

Why are you disappointed? Abalos could get impeached and the Senate is regaining its rightful place. In the long run, what is important is to have a government whose parts are like a machine. Separation of powers is the big principle that was destroyed at Edsa Dos, together with the Senate being shoved aside by the Supreme Court. Now Abalos pending impeachment may give the Senate a chance to exercise the SOLE power to try and remove constitutional officers. That was what we as a people failed to do in the case of Erap. It is what we must now do to restore the Machine to its properly working state after the Barrio Mechanic Davide and elitists wrecked it just to get rid of Erap.

Rejoice Black and White! Let color return to your cheeks.

DJB Rizalist said...

Establishing and defending the Rule of Law--Justice with fairness, truth with due process--this is more important than "winning" in any given case. Because there will always be evil men, but if our Machine is not just, not true, then ever shall they reign. What is fair has just priority over what is merely "good." Crow as we might over the fall of Erap, we didn't do it right because the Supreme Court usurped the judicial powers of the Legislature. Now the Judiciary is trying to steal the legislative powers of the Congress (habeas data) and the executive prerogatives of the Commander in Chief (amparo). God help us!

Helga said...

Deej, I won't comment on your little tirade against the Judiciary, I'm not knowledgeable about that. But about the disappointment I will weigh in - Romy Neri hid behind executive privilege just as his story was getting interesting. He stopped just before we could hear what else GMA had to say about that bribe offer. I bet he wouldn't be under PSG guard and getting texts in the bathroom from Ermita if the little woman had said, "Abalos? Abalos tried to bribe you? Insufferable man! Off with his head!" He was probably trying to get the senators mad enough to charge him with contempt and jail him so he could still look as if he was coerced into telling the rest of his story and not incur too much wrath from the little tyrant. But he blew it. Either that or the senators weren't warm to giving him that carrot.

You are also right. We have Abalos in a bind, but do we? He seems to be a little too relaxed about this for me to be comfy.

As for the other players, the one we should watch and keep safe is Jarius. His sources are key.

Mobile Depot said...

Honestly, Neri is just protecting his rotten boss that's why he pinned down Chairman Abalos though Abalos is probably culpable as well for receiving that juicy kickback from ZTE.

buddy said...

Senator Mirriam Santiago is right.
The controversary regarding the broadband deal is a squabble of those people who are after the kickbacks including the financiers of black and white movement.

Tet said...

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Eulogos said...

I don't know where DJB gets off thinking the precious government machinery was wrecked because the separation of powers was not observed properly during EDSA 2. He seems to imply that the 'Machine' was working fine prior to Davide's tinkering. Narrow-minded crap if I ever read one. It was malfunctioning and due for an overhaul long before that. And even during the rare times when the government machinery seemed to be clunking along well enough, we had horribly inept or deliberately corrupt people at the wheel. People who can maneuver the machinery to let someone like Abalos scotfree. Let anyone who denies that suffer the worst case of CTS in hell.

Conservatism is what DJB stands for. "Don't rock the boat with your radical ideas. The Machine shall protect us from evil only if you keep it true and just. Do not tinker with it liberally." I call it hogwash.