PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — ADMINISTRATION and opposition solons had mixed reactions to the NBN issue but most said it should be investigated properly since the First Gentleman is allegedly involved.
Mr. Arroyo’s brother and sons were quick to defend him, denying his involvement in the $329-million contract that the government has signed with China’s ZTE Corp.
“It’s not true. He’s lying to his teeth. It’s not in my brother’s character to threaten anyone,” Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo said in an interview, adding that the trip to Hong Kong of Mr. Arroyo had long been planned and only coincided with the investigation into the NBN project.
Pampanga Rep. Mikey Macapagal-Arroyo, Mr. Arroyo’s eldest son, expressed dismay over the allegation of the younger De Venecia. He said it is unfair for Mr. Arroyo to be linked to the issue that he has no knowledge of.
“My father is sick, alam naman nila ‘yan, bakit hindi nila tinitigilan. He has no knowledge about the contract or the deal. It’s all lip service,” he added.
Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Macapagal-Arroyo expressed confidence that his father can defend himself because he is innocent.
Meanwhile, administration solons said De Venecia III must show documents or proof of his allegations otherwise he is just attempting to put the First Family in a bad light.
“The allegations of JDV’s son should be supported by pertinent evidence of the First Gentleman’s involvement in the anomalous contract, otherwise he is stirring up a whole new controversy,” Marikina Rep. Marcy Teodoro said.
Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles added that De Venecia is only bitter because his company lost in the bidding for the project. He urged him to just wait for the decision of the Supreme Court on the issue and stop accusing innocent people.
On the part of the opposition, Cibac Party-list Rep. Joel Villanueva said it seems that Mr. Arroyo is guilty because he left the country at the time of the investigation.
“Did the intelligence of Malacanang beat Juan dela Cruz again in a catch-me-if- you-can game that they are so brazen in playing on us these past years?” Villanueva asked.
Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran dared President Macapagal-Arroyo to ask her husband to return to the country immediately and answer the allegations against him.
The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan described the controversial ZTE national broadband deal “corruption at the highest level” and it is better for the government to junk it for good to avoid political suicide.
United Opposition president and Makati Mayor Jejomar BInay renewed his call for the President to resign following the latest accusation that her husband was involved in the multi-million dollar National Broadband Network deal.
Binay likewise urged the members of the House of Representatives to cross party lines and proceed with the impeachment of the President and Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos.
“Mrs. Arroyo would do the country well if she follows the lead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and resign from her post. She should heed the public clamor for her resignation,” Binay said.
Abe resigned from his post barely a year after taking over from populist prime minister Junichiro Koizumi after a string of scandals involving his Cabinet.