Phnom Penh—Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen today urged resigned Philippine Commission on Elections chair Benjamin Abalos to confess and reveal the whole truth about the scandalous ZTE-NBN deal, as he dismissed as unrealistic demands of the Filipino community here for Cambodia to break diplomatic ties with the Philippines to pressure self-proclaimed Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo into resigning along with her vice president so early elections could be called.
“While I appreciate the situation in the Philippines and sympathize with the demands of your people, breaking diplomatic ties is too harsh and would even backfire on the hundreds of overseas Filipino workers in Cambodia,” the prime minister told me in a phone interview (I first met him in August 1982 when he was foreign minister in the Vietnam-backed government). “What I can do, comrade, is to offer Abalos a lucrative consultancy with the Cambodia National Election Committee…It is timely because we have national elections in July…he can even help us with the automation of our elections. Perhaps that’s enough to buy him off?
Last Friday (February 15), influential members of the Filipino community here gathered at a political dinner meeting where a statement calling for Mrs. Arroyo to turn herself in at the police station closest to Malacanang was read. Another statement was addressed to the Cambodian government. During the meeting, social activist and professional political agitator Dinky Soliman, who does consulting work for the World Bank as a hobby, presented likely outcomes in the recent Philippine crisis. The dinner was subsidized by the WB and the US Agency for International Development (USAid).