Source: www.philstar. com
October – The Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT)Â first broaches the possibility of a National Broadband Network (NBN) dealÂ to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Nov. 21 â€“ NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri andÂ Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) chairman Ramon Sales endorse the NBN projectÂ to PresidentÂ Arroyo in a Cabinet meeting. Mrs. Arroyo declares that she wants a build-operate- transfer (BOT) scheme for NBN implemented.
Dec. 5 â€“ Amsterdam Holdings Inc. (AHI) sends an unsolicited proposal for the NBN project to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)Â worth $240-million at its own expense.
February – Chinese firm Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) makes its own bid for the NBN project for a complete network for $300 million.
Feb. 20 – NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri requests DOTC to reconcile three projects discussed in the Cabinet — the cyber-education plan of the Department of Education (DepEd), and the competing NBN proposals of Amsterdam Holdings Inc. and ZTE Corp
March 1 – Transportation Secretary Leandro MendozaÂ CICT chairman Ramon Sales submit a report to Neri
March 14 â€“ US company Arescom submits a proposal to supply NBN hardware to DOTC for $135 million.
March 18 â€“ AHI officials complain in a letter to the (DOTC) of bias over the Chinese firm.
March 26 â€“ Neri expresses reservation over the NBN project in a technical board meeting.
March 29 – The NEDA Board and its Investment Coordinating Council â€” composed of Cabinet members â€” approve the NBN project.
March 30 â€“Â Columnist Jarius Bondoc first writes about the brewing storm involvingÂ ZTE and AHI over the NBN project.
April 20 â€“ US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney writes to NEDA chief Romulo Neri, expressing “worries” over the upcoming signing of the NBN deal with ZTE.
April 21 â€“ The Philippines and China — through Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza and ZTE Corp. vice president Yu Yong — sign a contract for the NBN project during PresidentÂ Arroyo’s visit to Boao, China. Total project cost is $330 million.
June 5 â€“ Sales abruptly resigns as CICT chair.
June 18 â€“ Bondoc publishes e-mail letter from Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) Graft Investigation Officer Vida Bocar requesting for documents on the ZTE deal; Bocar is sacked from her post on the same day.
June 20 – DOTC Assistant Secretary Lorenzo Formoso admits that the ZTE contract, of which there were two ‘sovereign’ copies, had gone missing but adds that they were “reconstituting” it from previous copies.
July 27 â€“ Neri is transferred from the Cabinet-level NEDA to a lower post as head of theÂ Commission on Higher Educaction (CHED).
July 30 â€“ The Department of Justice approves the contract, saying thatÂ it is ‘legal’ and ‘valid.’
July 31 â€“ Iloilo Vice-Gov. Rolex Suplico files a taxpayer suit at the Supreme Court questioning the NBN project with ZTE.
August 25 â€“ The Philippines signs the loan agreement with China to fund the purchase of ZTE equipment.
August 27 â€“ Bondoc reveals in his column the so-called hotel ‘sexcapades’ of a high-ranking poll commissioner in China and eight other trips to Hong Kong madeÂ from September 2006 to February 2007 by the official.
August 29 Ââ€“ Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla accuses Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos of involvement in the ZTE contract and tagged him as the poll commissioner being referred to in Bondoc’s column.
August 30 â€“ Abalos admits in a radio interview that he had indeed traveled to China four times but only to play golf with ZTE officials, whom he says he met through hisÂ Â daughter, who is in the import business.Â Finance Secretary Gary Teves also admits Abalos was the one who introduced him to the ZTE officials.
September 1 â€“ Teves recants his statements of meeting with ZTE officials with Abalos at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
September 3 â€“ MalacaÃ±ang gives a gag order to Cabinet officials on the ZTE issue.
September 7 â€“ Jose “Joey” de Venecia III, a major stockholder and founder of AHI, admits he was offered a $10-million bribe by Abalos in an interview.Â
September 11 â€“ The SC files temporary restraining order against the NBN project
September 18 â€“ At the first Senate hearing of the blue-ribbon committee on the NBN project, De Venecia reiterates his earlier assertions , adding that First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo told him to “back off” from the deal during a “reconciliatory” meeting at Wack-Wack.
September 19 â€“ First Gentleman Mike Arroyo denies intimidating anyone at Wack Wack.
September 23 â€“ PresidentÂ Arroyo orders indefinite suspension of ZTE contract.
September 26 â€“ At the second Senate hearing of the NBN project,Â Neri admits Abalos’ bribery try at Wack Wack in exchange for his endorsement of theÂ ZTE contract and reportedly infomed the President about it. Neri, however refused to disclose why President Arroyo went ahead with the project, invoking executive privilege. Abalos denies the allegations.
October 1 â€“ Abalos resigns from the Comelec, saying that he wants to clear his name without dragging his office down.
October 3 â€“ President Arroyo scraps the ZTE contract.
October 4 â€“ Senate goes on session break.Â Criticism by opposition senators force committee chairman Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano to schedule first hearing after break on Oct. 25
October 9 â€“ NEDA acting chairman Augusto Santos refuses to hand documents pertaining to the NBN to the Senate, invokling “executive privilege.”
October 10 â€“ Neri disputes NEDA’s claim that documents can be withheld by invoking “executive privilege.” HeÂ says the documents are public in nature.
October 23 â€“ First Gentleman Jose “Miguel” Mike Arroyo says he won’t attend a Senate hearing due to health reasons. Joey de Venecia also reveals thatÂ there is a plot to kill him by Mendoza, Communications Assistant Secretary Reynaldo Berroya, and Bureau of Corrections director Ricardo Dapat. Mendoza, however, denies the charge.
October 25 â€“ Senate hearing resumes.
Jan. 30, 2008 -Â Philippine Forest Corp. president Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr., an IT expert who allegedly knows how the ZTE contract was overpriced, flies to Hongkong two hours before the start of the Senate inquiry. The Senate orders his and Neri’s arrest.
Jan. 31, 2008 – The Senate attempts, but fails, to arrest Neri in his office at the Commission on Higher Education because he did not report for work.
Feb. 1, 2008 – The Senate sergeant-at- arms fails to arrest Neri in his house.
Feb. 5, 2008 -Â The Supreme Court orders the Senate not to arrest Neri. Lozada arrives from Hongkong at 4:40 p.m., but reports and text messages circulates that airport officials have kidnapped him. MalacaÃ±ang denies any involvement in Lozada’s disappearance.
Feb. 6, 2008 – Philippine National Police Chief Avelino Razon in the morning says he wasn’t aware of Lozada’s whereabouts. Arthur Lozada, Rodolfo’s brother, files a writ of amparo before the Supreme Court. Arthur’s wife, Violeta, files a separate writ of habeas corpus. Razon says later in the day that Lozada is in police custody.
Feb. 7, 2008 – Lozada, in a 2 a.m. press conference at La Salle Greenhills, links Abalos and First Gentleman Mike Arroyo to the US$329.5-million national broadband deal with ZTE Corp. He reveals that:
- Abalos threatened to have him killed.
- When he quit the project in Jan. 18, 2007, the project was priced at $262 million, but when it was approved it was already $329.5 million.
- That Abalos had wanted a kickback of $130 million, with $70 million meant for Mr. Arroyo.
- He did not know the people who took him and that Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza had him fetched from the airport.
- He has no direct line to the President and that it was Secretary Neri who talked to her about the deal.
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