Press Release
February 24, 2008

"It is difficult to believe that PGMA only knew about the kickbacks late in the day," --- KIKO

After PGMA admitted that she learned about the irregularities of the ZTE deal the night before she witnessed the signing of the contract, Senate Majority Leader and Independent senator Kiko Pangilinan today criticized Mrs. Arroyo for continuing with the project even if things are looking black.

"It is difficult to believe that PGMA only knew about the kickbacks on the eve of her departure for China. Still, assuming for the sake of argument that the President is telling the truth that she only found out late in the day about the allegations of bribery and kickbacks, why then did she not order a thorough investigation of the criminal acts committed and in the meantime insist that the contract signing be placed on hold instead of going ahead, travelling all the way to China to be a witness to its signing?" Kiko asked.

It will be recalled that last April 21, 2007, Mrs Arroyo personally traveled to China to witness the signing of five contracts between the Philippines and the Chinese government.

"In other words, if what she says is true, her subsequent acts of proceeding with the approval of the contract proves that at the very least she tolerated and condoned criminal activities. At worse she was party to it. Either way it appears she failed to act appropriately and may have betrayed the public trust by this failure. Finally, her cancellation of the contract happened seven months after the signing and only after the bribery and overpricing were exposed in the Senate hearings. What did she do during the seven months that she had known about the illegal acts? With all due respect, the President was forced to cancel the contract only after it had become a major scandal. She has painted herself into a corner by this admission." Kiko ended.

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