Former Comelec Chairman Ben Abalos and former NEDA chief Romulo Neri may soon face graft charges on the botched US$329 million national broadband network (NBN) project with Chinese company ZTE. The Office of the Ombudsman appears to be bent on filing criminal charges against Abalos and Neri for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Jose de Venecia III, a losing bidder in the broadband project alleged that First Gentleman Mike Arroyo told him to “back off” from the deal.De Venecia told the court that the ZTE deal was overpriced by over $130 million to allow kickbacks for Abalos and other politicians. President Gloria Arroyo cancelled the deal in 2007. – ?
One of my former schoolmates at the university asked me what can be done to improve the economic situation in the Philippines.
Perhaps, what the Philippines need to get back on track with its Asian neighbours is a combination of many factors. To name a few:
The president must have the administrative skills of Senator Richard Gordon. Consider what he did as chairman of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and mayor of OlongapoCity. He must likewise have the kind of discipline imposed by Lee Kwan Yew in Singapore plus the intelligence of Ferdinand Marcos without Imelda’s influence. He/she must have the integrity of Cory Aquino and the ideology of her husband Ninoy.
He must be a financial and marketing wizard like Manny Pangilinan of PLDT.
I do not know how corruption in government can be totally eliminated. Maybe one solution is the complete overhaul of the system plus a re-think of the pork barrel that was copied from the United States. I understand that the going rate of kickback is 30 per cent.
One way of controlling corruption is by imposing stiff penalties on those proven to be guilty. I have no objection to capital punishment. Death by firing squad may sound gruesome but I think it will scare the wits out of those corrupt politicians in Congress.
We must go down to the grass roots of society, down to the level of
extorting police officers, including army generals who sell arms to Abu Sayaf.
More importantly, we need the cooperation of the entire nation. There must be national discipline. A Japanese will readily resign from office when proven guilty of corruption. He might even commit sepukku of hara kiri. I have yet to hear of a politician resigning from office. Gloria Arroyo should have done that when she learned of her husband’s involvement in the ZTE-NBN deal.
But, maybe the greatest hurdle is poverty which I believe is caused by over population and uneven distribution of the wealth of the nation.The problem here is the firm stand of the Catholic Church against contraception. It preaches abstinence but in reality, will the wife refuse when there is strong urge from the husband?
Could it be improved tax collection? How can we eliminate tax cheating when even doctors and lawyers do not issue receipts to patients and clients? Many local banks in the Philippines have a tax shield enjoyed by its senior officers. How about our Gross National Product and Balance of Trade? Ahhh, that’s another topic.
Our country is in deep shit. How do we get out of it? You tell me. – ? DMC
(Reactions to this editorial are most welcome. An email to firstname.lastname@example.org can be sent and will be published in the next issue.)
Last 14th of August 2009, Cardinal George Pell of the Catholic Church in Sydney stood down a priest charged with grooming a teenager for sex over the internet. However, the Church still helped to secure his release from custody.
It was also reported that the Church paid the priest's $25,000 bail and offered a "holiday unit" in Terrigal on the New South Wales central coast for him to stay. (Sources: www.livenews.com.au and television news reports as viewed by this writer)
A holiday! Please explain, Cardinal Pell!(more...)
Actually, there are a lot of Saudi (Arabian) rape and abuse cases reported in newspapers. Their government will protect their own citizens and usually turn a blind eye towards the victims (who are mostly foreigners) or even jail them for supposedly making false accusations.
The most horrific incident has recently occurred on an Emirates Airlines and the culprits have gotten away with it. The worst thing about this case is that this is the 4th case to have happened on this airline. During the Christmas of 2005, Emirates Airlines made it’s regular flight from Dubai to Manila. However, after 4 hours into the flight, most passengers were sleeping or dozing off. A man approached a lady who was alone and asked her to assist his child in the bathroom. Not thinking much, the lady followed the gentleman to the rear of the plane. (more…)