Opposition grandstanding — Bunye

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — IT all boils down to political ambitions.

Malacañang thus scoffed at the Senate inquiry into the controversial national broadband network deal with Chinese firm ZTE Corp., saying opposition senators are just riding on the issue to push for their political plans in 2010.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye took exception to calls from opposition senators for President Macapagal-Arroyo to either take a leave of absence while the investigation is ongoing or resign and let Vice President Noli de Castro take over.

“Senators (Panfilo) Lacson and (Allan Peter) Cayetano just betrayed the real intent behind these investigations supposedly in aid of legislation. They are not after truth and justice, and making laws. They simply can not wait for the 2010 elections and they want to bring this government down now,” Bunye said.

Lacson called for the resignation of the President while Cayetano said both the President and Philippine National Police chief Avelino Razon should take leaves of absence while the Senate probe is ongoing.

“Their slip is showing… This is investigation in aid of grandstanding. .. mukhang di sila magkapaghintay until 2010. Ilang sandali na lang yan, maghintay sila. They’ll have their day kung sila ay pagpapalain,” Bunye said.

Palace officials had repeatedly said there is no need to continue the Senate probe of the NBN-ZTE deal considering the President had ordered its scrapping. They said government witnesses, particularly Commission on Higher Education Chairman Romulo Neri, had made their “exhaustive testimony” in an earlier hearing which lasted for over 12 hours.

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee set the resumption of the inquiry today with Rodolfo Lozada, a technical consultant for the NBP project as the main witness.

Lozada, who was reported missing upon his arrival from Hong Kong

Tuesday night, surfaced early yesterday and is now under the custody of the Senate.