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Philippine panel targets Arroyo and her husband

The Senate committee seeks further inquiry on the president's role in connection to alleged kickbacks in a broadband deal with the Chinese firm ZTE Corp. and recommends charges against her spouse.

November 11, 2009|Reuters

MANILA — A Philippine Senate committee has recommended further investigation of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the filing of charges against her husband in connection with alleged kickbacks in a $329-million broadband deal with China's ZTE Corp.

"Her acts in this case reveal that her performance of presidential duty has been wanting," the Senate's Blue Ribbon committee said in the recommendation issued late Tuesday.

The panel said charges under the anti-graft and corrupt practices act should be filed against Jose Miguel Arroyo, the president's husband, and nine former and current government officials.

The recommendations will be sent to the Office of the Ombudsman for action.

Arroyo's press secretary, Cerge Remonde, rejected moves to link the president to the scandal. He said the report did not present any evidence to show that the president was involved in the deal.

Arroyo scrapped the deal with ZTE Corp. in October 2007. Under it, the Chinese firm was to have linked government offices across the archipelago with broadband connections.

The charges of corruption in the ZTE contract formed part of an impeachment complaint against her last year that was dismissed by the House of Representatives.

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