What will happen to the ZTE-NBN deal, now with one of the main actors, former DOTC secretary Leandro Mendoza serving con-currently as Executive secretary?
Mendoza's appointment as Mrs. Arroyo's little president speaks volumes. It just shows that this administration tolerates or will tolerate any and all infraction just to coddle an Arroyo mini mini-me.
Remember that in 2006, Mendoza was the head of the DOTC who went to China, signed the controversial deal and when he was exposed by Joey de Venecia III, backtracked and claimed that they lost the copy of the contract.
Mendoza was also the one who defended the contract before the Senate and deployed his close advisers and henchmen to ensure that nothing comes out of the probe about the US$325 million deal.
In an interview after his formal announcement as Executive secretary, Mendoza hinted that he may yet revive the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN) deal, possibly with other players and with a more acceptable term. Mendoza says NBN is a great idea but was only marred by controversies.
Will the administration force another ZTE-NBN type of deal in the next few weeks? Yes. My sources within the palace says that's precisely the reason why Madame Gloria decided to appoint Mendoza as Executive secretary---to ensure the speedy implementation of a new NBN deal with the same actors and players only donning different attires.
The problem with the NBN plan is simple--it is a government-to-government transaction that any administration, even if not with Gloria, is committed to implement it. Meaning--whether we like it or not, this Republic will have an NBN program with the Chinese government.
Only through an Executive action will stop this plan from lifting the ground.
The more pertinent question is---why is the public now, oh so silent, with what this administration did--appoint as Executive secretary somebody once accused of graft and corruption? How this will be interpreted by the international and business community will be seen in the next couple of weeks.