What national treasure has GMA not yet given away?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-09-16

In the deal that the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime entered into with China regarding the Spratlys, many Filipinos felt that she virtually signed over to the new Asian superpower our oil and gas reserves.

In the BJE deal GMA was about to ink with the MILF, with no thanks to US pressure, many of us felt that she was ready to give away Mindanao with all its rich natural resources and its very strategic location in the event of a US-China conflict.

Now, in the recently divulged deal that her Trade Secretary, Peter Favila, inked in 2006 with the same ZTE Corporation that figured in the controversial NBN deal — her regime is alleged to have violated the Constitution for having allowed a foreign firm to develop and operate a close to $1 billion gold mine in Mt. Diwalwal.

Other than these, under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo we have also lost the integrity of our democratic process after the 2004 Presidential Election, the credibility of our justice system (especially after appointing Raul Gonzalez to the DoJ and the recent Court of Appeals scandal), our national reputation before the league of nations as we have been continually listed as one of the most corrupt countries, our daily bread and bowl of rice as national food production is now incapable of giving Filipinos an affordable repast and even our faith in our religious leaders as some Bishops and Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church have been perceived as protectors of the evil in the land.

Is there still anything the Filipino people will lose before we have seen the last of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo? Jesus Christ was crucified only once on the cross and endured intense suffering that lasted only one afternoon. What have we Filipinos done to deserve this “crucifixion” that now lasts for over 7 years?

Atty. Harry Roque has exploded a bombshell when he exposed the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that Trade Secretary Peter Favila signed (under the authority directly given to Favila by GMA) with Yu Young of ZTE covering the EXPLORATION, DEVELOPMENT and OPERATION of mining areas in Diwalwal and in North Davao.

It is a bombshell because under the present Constitution, foreigners are not allowed to explore, develop and operate Philippine mining resources. Atty. Roque explained that foreigners can only participate as investors under the FTAA (Financial Technical Assistance Agreement) but not to explore, develop and operate Philippine mines.

Unlike the NBN-ZTE deal, where the GMA regime hid the contract, there is an existing MoU that is available to establish the violation — duly signed for the government by Messrs. Peter Favila and Michael Defensor (who earlier professed that there was no such document).

I was furnished a copy of that MoU (together with other documents) and I saw for myself the contents and signatures of the personalities Atty. Harry Roque named in his exposé.

One gold vein alone in Mt. Diwalwal is estimated to have close to $1 billion and there is more than just one vein there. This area is so rich in gold that it was included in the BJE despite the fact that the Compostela Valley is not contiguous to the Moro domain and is in fact a Lumad domain.

Per one of the documents I was furnished, the NRMDC-ZTE (NRMDC is Natural Resources and Mining Development Corporation, the original name of the now Philippine Mining Development Corporation) net proceeds sharing in the North Davao mines is set at 90-10 percent in favor of ZTE.

Imagine that — that is Philippine gold and the Filipino people will only get 10 percent of the net proceeds! I cannot help but ask who the GMA regime works for — is it the Filipino people or ZTE?

In the face of the hard evidence presented by Atty. Roque, Trade Sec. Peter Favila and Press Sec. Jess Dureza could only obfuscate the issue. They could not deny that the document was real or that its contents violated the Constitution.

Rather than explain how the Constitution’s ban on foreigners developing and operating our mining resources is not violated by their MoU which specifically states “EXPLORATION, DEVELOPMENT and OPERATION” of Diwalwal and North Davao mining areas — Harry Roque was accused of engaging in activities to try to demonize the GMA regime.

It is the classic rendition of ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM (going after the person instead of addressing the issue), as we learned in logic class. In one news report, Roque was even accused of doing these exposes because he supposedly plans to run for the Senate in 2010. Jess Dureza showed great irritation over the issue, forgetting that whoever loses his cool loses the debate.

I tell you, from where I sit, wrecking another chair, Jess Dureza is starting to make Toting Bunye look good! You and I would not have imagined that anyone could do worse than Toting Bunye when he presented the Garci tapes. It is bad enough to shoot one’s self in the foot. I thought Toting shot himself through the ass with that one.

Rather than meet the issue head on and present solid arguments based on legal grounds and facts, Favila and Dureza could only muster chutzpah. They presented a façade of bravado when they challenged Harry Roque to bring his case to court (Harry Roque is going to do that). It is either they are buying time, trying to diffuse the tension the GMA regime is undergoing already from the food and gas crises and the war in Mindanao or are confident of the case landing in a ‘friendly’ court.

What stinks in this ZTE mining deal (but is consistent with the character of the GMA regime) is the provision in the MoU that states that both parties “shall not reveal the content of this agreement or issue any press release or make any other public announcement pertaining to the projects contemplated.”

What are they afraid of? What are they hiding from the Filipino people?

Messrs. Favila and Dureza kept claiming during their presscon that there is no agreement yet, only a MoU. And yet when you get to read the MoU, AGREEMENT is mentioned all over the 6-page document.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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