Dominguez hits Arroyo over 'scandalous' China deals

MANILA, Philippines – Amid rumors that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will soon lead the Department of Finance (DOF), its current secretary Carlos Dominguez III hit the former president over "scandalous" deals.

In a business forum on Thursday, December 6, Dominguez said the Duterte administration will not fall into China's debt trap, as they have learned much from the Arroyo administration's "scandalous mismanagement of Chinese financing."

While Dominguez did not explicitly name Arroyo, he said he did not have to mention names.

"I'll just mention some initials. ZTE, for instance," he said.

Dominguez was referring to the botched $329-million National Broadband Network-ZTE deal in 2007, considered as one of the biggest corruption scandals during Arroyo's presidency.

However, all graft cases against Arroyo were junked in 2016.

Dominguez went on to say that Arroyo's leadership "allowed Chinese state-owned enterprises to dictate what projects will be undertaken" in the Philippines. (READ: Avoid mistakes of past China deals, incoming PH envoy says)

Dominguez said the current economic team has placed safeguards such as feasibility studies and internal vetting of Chinese contractors to ensure that projects would be financially viable.

There are rumors that Arroyo will assume the DOF leadership after her term in Congress ends in 2019, but she said such claims are purely "hypothetical."

The Pampanga 2nd District representative has been proactive in recommending economic measures since she took over the House leadership in late July.

Arroyo met with economic managers to tame inflation and has personally observed the movement of various tax measures in the House. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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