Monday, 10 September 2007

NBN: On whose side is Lacson?

GMA News reported today that "opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Monday said the Philippine may find itself in a bind if it scraps the deal it signed with ZTE Corp. of China.

Lacson said that aside from the Philippine government's failure to earmark funds in the national budget for the broadband deal, it needs ZTE's consent to scrap the deal.

"That's the bind the government is in. How do you turn your back on a signed contract? And I still don't understand how the DOTC could declare the contract as lost," he said.

Lacson also questioned the government's claim it can still scrap the deal, noting that no less than President Arroyo flew all the way to Hainan province to witness it.

Even though an agreement on the loan project has yet to be inked, Lacson said the deal was virtually done, signed before no less than the Philippine president.

Under such circumstances, he said it is not possible for the Philippine government to turn its back on a deal without the consent of the other party.

"The fact is, there's already an agreement between two parties. The agreement as the contract would suggest had been signed by [Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro] Mendoza representing the Philippine government, and on the other side, the vice president of ZTE ... And if you recall, no less than President Arroyo flew to Hainan to witness the signing ceremony," he said.

"The government cannot say it will not push through with the project because it has become too controversial. Now that the President apparently has already issued a directive to review or get the recommendation of the Cabinet to review the contract, it still entails the permission of the other party. The government cannot just say it will scrap the contract because it cannot stand the controversy," he said.

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With this recent statement it's hard to figure out which side Lacson is on. Is he for the contract or is he against it? Why the sudden switch from "no" to "hold it"? Interesting twist in the plot. Hmmmm.....

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