Private Sector Proposes Creation of Body to Investigate ZTE Deal

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Byline: BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

Creation of an independent commission that would investigate the ZTE scandal has been proposed by the private sector to ensure an impartial probe and bring the culprits to court.

This transpired at yesterday's meeting called by Trade and Industry Secretary Peter B. Favila and Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya with the private sector composed of business, church and the academe to discuss good governance, red tapes and accountability in government service.

"The private sector has suggested creating an independent commission because they also want to bring this to a closure as soon as possible," Favila told reporters after the meeting.

The private sector particularly the business sector has urged the government to enhance efficiency because, "they want us to move on" since the passage of several economic bills have long been delayed.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, said the creation of an independent commission is necessary to "avoid any perception of white-wash."

Ortiz-Luis said the private sector has proposed the creation of an independent commission because the Ombudsman is deemed partial.

Raul T. Concepcion, chairman of the Consumer Sector - COPW said that, "the ZTE National Broadband (NBN) corruption scandal has created a major crisis that is beginning to hurt the country and our people, especially the poor but all is not lost."

Concepcion has urged the administration, with clear instruction from the president, to bring a credible closure to the scandal through a fair, impartial and transparent investigation after which charges are filed and the guilty parties punished, no matter who they are.

Second, the Arroyo administration should immediately address the urgent need for safety nets for the poorest of the poor so that basic services are readily made available to them, namely: basic food commodities, cheap electricity, LPG, and reasonable transportation costs.

"All these will not cost much provided there is focus, transparency, efficient implementation, and yes, less graft," Concepcion said.

Favila vowed that he and Andaya would endorse the proposal to Malacanang saying a private sector commission like the Melo Commission, which investigated the extrajudicial killings, would ensure that nobody could cast doubt on the integrity of the commission. …