Lacson eyes new Senate probe into Arroyo deals with China | Inquirer News

Lacson eyes new Senate probe into Arroyo deals with China

Senator Panfilo Lacson has said he is considering reopening the Senate investigation into the failed  National Broadband Network (NBN) project with China and launching separate probes into other deals the previous  administration  may have forged with Chinese investors.

Lacson estimated at $4 billion the total value of the projects negotiated with China by the Arroyo administration.

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“This is the opportune time to really put closure on all these issues,” he told reporters. “The moment a committee report is out on the floor, we should go straight to the Ombudsman to file the necessary charges ourselves.”

Lacson said the China deals, involving five projects,  included mining exploration in the gold-rich Mt. Diwalwal in the Compostela Valley, another mining project “in northern Davao and the establishment of an economic zone in the Davao provinces.”

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Selling country’s patrimony

“The question is—why would you sell the country’s patrimony when it’s clear in the Constitution that foreigners cannot explore mineral resources?” Lacson said.

He said that under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and China’s ZTE International Investment Ltd. , the Chinese firm would be in charge of all the “financial, technical and operational aspects of the project.”

“The role of the poor Filipino, on the other hand, would be to handle problems such as peace and order and if the local government unit is interfering,” Lacson said in Filipino.

On Arroyo’s order

He said the MOU was signed by then Trade Secretary Peter Favila with ZTE International “under special instructions from GMA (Arroyo).”

Only the NBN deal was investigated during the previous administration, he said.

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“Why should we sell out our country in transactions involving our natural resources? In the first place, the Constitution prohibits that,” Lacson said.

Asked if he would reopen the Senate probe into the abortive $329-million NBN project, Lacson said: “That’s under consideration. If there is a new document, why not?”

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TAGS: Arroyo, China, Panfilo Lacson, Senate
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