Lacson to Palace, Senate Allies: Get Your Acts Together on ZTE Deal

Malacañang and its allies in the Senate should first get their acts together.

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson extended the unsolicited advice Thursday as he noted the conflicting statements on the matter by two pro-administration senators and no less than President Arroyo. 

“No less than Mrs. Arroyo said the government must comply with the contract, as part of ‘abiding by the rule of law.’ Yet two of her allies in the Senate say there is no contract yet. Which is which? Malacañang and its allies are betraying each other,” Lacson said.

He was referring to Mrs. Arroyo’s comments during a chance interview Wednesday night that as long as the contract went through the required processes, the Philippine government is “required to comply” with it.

In contrast, pro-Malacañang senators claimed there is no basis for an investigation because the deal is a mere supply agreement and not yet a contract.

“When is the right time to investigate a stinking deal? Do we start the investigation when it is already too late and we are truly bound to ‘abide’ by it?” he added.

During a privilege speech last Tuesday, Lacson presented copies of the original and reconstituted $330-million contracts where ZTE is to “design, supply, install, test, commission and deliver the Network,” in exchange for $329.481 million.

Both copies of the two contracts carry the signatures of DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza, for and in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines; and Yu Yong, vice president of ZTE, witnessed by Assistant Secretary Lorenzo Formoso III and ZTE chairman Hou Weigui, with no less than President Arroyo as a ceremonial witness.

On the other hand, Lacson raised questions on the propriety of senators who are bound by Senate rules on ethical standards, with respect to conflict of interest.

“Who is Attorney Rogelio Vinluan? If it is true that ZTE has engaged Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz or ACCRA Law Office to be its legal counsel, it tells us a lot why our colleagues want the investigation into this stinking issue stopped,” he said.