Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain. -- Author Unknown
In the midst of heightened public anticipation of more revelations about the ZTE scandal, and rising satisfaction in a Senate that is exercising its duty to provide us check and balance, there is news that there will no longer be any Senate hearings on this disgraceful issue until further notice. What’s up with that? The momentum is just maxing out. Who wants to pull the plug?
The onus falls squarely on the shoulders of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. As chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, he calendars the hearings and schedules the witnesses. His recent statements in the news have been perceived by many as rather disturbing. Sen. Cayetano indicated that witnesses may be unavailable to warrant the holding of a session, there are no new witnesses to call, that nothing new may be revealed by witnesses like Joey de Venecia. Moreover, he would like to give himself and a number of his colleagues the opportunity to attend the IPU.
With respect, we find these reasons to be rather flimsy. After all, Jarius Bondoc broke journalistic protocol and has published all the privileged communications he had with Romulo Neri to point the Senate in new directions. Regarding Romulo Neri - whatever happened to the Senate’s plan to challenge his invocation of executive privilege? What about Joey de Venecia’s recent claims against a prominent businessman?
In addition, we have yet to hear from First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. His alleged involvement in this scandal should have peaked Sen. Cayetano’s interest.
The final reason of Sen. Cayetano seems to reflect a distorted sense of priority. Is the planned attendance of a few legislators to an international forum so important as to justify the postponement of the ZTE Contract hearings?
These lame excuses are uncharacteristic of the feisty oppositionist. Perception is everything. These excuses seem to lend credence to the flurry of text messages alleging that Sen. Cayetano has discontinued the hearings at the behest of a more senior Senator who is supposedly being pressured by the influential businessman implicated in this scandal.
The announcement by GMA from China saying that the ZTE Deal is finally cancelled should not be viewed as a successful cap on a contentious issue.
The Black & White Movement wants to be proven wrong. We hope to hear that the hearings will be continued as soon as possible. There are many questions left unanswered and the public deserves to know now. Is the First Gentleman really involved and to what extent? How much does the President know? Is she culpable? What actions did she take after Neri reported the attempted bribery? How was the NBN project transformed from a BOT to a bilateral loan agreement? Are there other personalities involved? These questions cannot be left hanging.
When Sen. Cayetano broke ranks with the opposition to support the bid of perceived pro-administration Manny Villar for the Senate Presidency, he argued that he did so because of party affiliation. We understood. But this time, the stakes are higher and people may not be as understanding. The Black and White Movement humbly suggests that Sen. Cayetano heed the example of President Manuel L. Quezon, “my loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.”