Neri still hopes to regain Neda post
By Cai Ordinario
Nov. 1, 2007
DESPITE having been shunted to a position seen as a demotion in some quarters and having provided explosive testimony in the ongoing Senate hearings into a multibillion-dollar broadband project, Commission on Higher Education chairman Romulo Neri still wants to head again the National Economic and Development Authority after his term at the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Neri is still holding on to the President’s promise to return him to the premier Cabinet post, a promise she made months before he testified on the national broadband network deal forged—and then aborted—with China telecoms giant Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment Co. Ltd. “The agreement was that I would come back after six months. I like it [at the Neda]. I was lucky there. Truth be told, my problems began when I was moved to CHED.”
At the Senate last month, Neri said former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. indicated that “there’s P200 million” [in bribe] for Neri if, as Neda chief, he endorses to the Cabinet the NBN project that was later denounced as overpriced and redundant.
Neri said that when he informed President Arroyo of the bribe offer, she told him to decline the bribe — which he said he had already done — but approve the project just the same.
Neri was recently given additional bodyguards, so he now has six. He said there was a threat to his life last week when a certain individual, whom he declined to identify, went to the Neda office in Pasig City warning of an attempt to assassinate him.
Neri said the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group is investigating. “I just have to be more security-conscious but otherwise I can go anywhere I want. . .I don’t even [believe] it’s for real but for all you know it is just to scare me.”
THE gall of this idiot! It's bad enough that he doesn't want to tell the public the truth, now he wants to return to a more powerful government position. Honey, your problems didn't begin when you were transferred to CHED, it began when you were the Neda director-general. Not only that, the credibility of Neda became eroded when you headed it! You say you were lucky at Neda? Well Neda and the entire country ran into one of the worst misfortunes we've experienced since you were appointed its head. Manhid ka na ang kapal mo pa!
UPDATE (Nov. 2, 2007)
Neda deserves better
COMMISSION on Higher Education Chairman Romulo Neri certainly has some gumption saying publicly that he still hopes to get his top post at Neda after presiding over one of the most demoralizing periods of the organization. Good sense tells us that Neri should have no place there at all; come to think of it, he should never have been appointed there, in the first place.
Traditionally, incoming presidents appoint to Neda’s top post someone who has had really solid and extensive training in economics, particularly one with a Ph.D., in a discipline that is getting technical by the day. We should not be surprised because, as mandated by law, Neda’s task has something to do with “formulating continuing coordinated and fully integrated social and [socioeconomic] policies, plans and programs.”
That’s a very sensitive task that shouldn’t be left to anybody who doesn’t have a good grasp of economics. More so because since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the tidal wave of globalization has rendered more complicated economic management at the national scale. Neri may have taught subjects in business, but that limited experience has not given him the right preparation to become Neda’s top decision-maker.
There had been talk, right after his first appointment at Neda, that the only reason he ended up there was sheer politics. For nearly eight years, Neri had been one of the closest advisers of Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., who made him head of the Congressional Planning and Budget Office of the House of Representatives. Then, months after JdV and former President Fidel V. Ramos rushed to the rescue of President Arroyo in the heat of the “Hello Garci” controversy and the Hyatt 10’s departure, the Chief Executive named Neri to Neda.
(Click BusinessMirror for the rest.)