Phil senate calls for charges in ZTE NBN scandal

Dylan Bushell-Embling
12 Nov 2009

A Philippine senate committee has endorsed allegations that members of the Arroyo administration conspired with ZTE to help it win a $329 million NBN contract through bribery and corruption.

The report, which backed allegations that former election commissioner Benjamin Abalos “brokered” for ZTE in exchange for kickbacks from the vendor, was released this week.

The fallout from the report could result in charges being filed against the husband of president Gloria Arroyo and ten others regarding their involvement in the scandal and an alleged coverup, and could even see the president herself impeached.

Abalos is accused of offering P200 million ($15.2 million) in bribes to then National Economic Development Authority head Romulo Neri to support ZTE’s bid, and of offering a rival bidder $10 million to back away from the project.

During this time, another member of the Arroyo administration allegedly regularly met with ZTE without authorization.

Arroyo canceled the contract in October 2007 in response to the allegations.

China's ambassador to the Philippines said he believes the Arroyo government has done its best to deal with the corruption in its ranks.

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