Archive for the ‘Lozada’ Category

Editorial Cartoon: (NBN-ZTE) Another Lozada blow

September 15, 2008

And a funny thought about it.

Key witness in NBN scam expects ‘worst’ but isn’t giving up

September 15, 2008

‘They may have won battle, but not the war’

By Thea Alberto
First Posted 14:18:00 09/15/2008


MANILA, Philippines — The key witness in the national broadband network controversy is expecting the “worst,” after the Court of Appeals dismissed his petition for protection under the writ of amparo, which he called a “law without justice.”

“The worst is yet to come,” said Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada Jr. Monday, anticipating more charges to be filed against him as part of the government’s move to allegedly harass him.

At the same time, Lozada said he and his lawyers would discuss whether to appeal the court decision, saying, “They may have won this battle, but they have not won the war yet.”

He also called the writ of amparo a “law without justice.”

“I cannot believe na ako pa ngayon ang lumalabas na nagsinungaling [that I am now the liar],” said Lozada, reiterating his testimony that if the media had not been determined to find him at the time that he was reported missing, he could have been dead by now.

The appeals court ruled that there was no evidence of threats to his life when security men took him from the airport last February.

In an interview Monday, Lozada Jr. maintained that he was kidnapped by government security to prevent him from testifying at the Senate, which at that time was investigating the multimillion-dollar telecommunications contract with China’s ZTE Corporation.

Lozada said that if he was not kidnapped, why did security officials hide him from his family, brought him to a remote area in Los Banos, Laguna, and then forced him to sign a security request he purportedly asked.

Lozada also reacted to the statement of Philippine National Police Director General Avelino Razon that the court ruling was a vindication. Razon was among the key officials tagged in the controversy for supposedly forcing Lozada to sign a security request.

“If it’s a vindication coming from a court of justice ‘yung talagang patas na hukuman, ok lang [a court of justice that has no bias, it’s ok]. Pero kung vindication galing sa grupo-grupo nila, hindi vindication yan [But if it’s a vindication that has come from their group, then that is not vindication]. The real vindication is what the people believe.” said Lozada.

First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo has filed perjury charges against Lozada who implicated him in the NBN scam.

Lozada said it was “his faith” that had kept him going but added that despite this, he had “always been afraid for myself and family.” He added that he would continue giving talks to schools and villages regarding the NBN controversy.

Last week, the court rejected the claim of Lozada, 45, former head of the environmental state agency Philippine Forest Corp., that he was abducted by security men on his return to the country on February 5 from Hong Kong. He had gone abroad to avoid summons to appear before the Senate investigation.

Named respondents in Lozada’s petition were Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, airport security chief Angel Atutubo, Philippine National Police Director General Avelino Razon, and Senior Police Officer 4 Rodolfo Valeroso. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was initially named in the case but was dropped by the court, saying she could not be sued while serving her term.

Lozada asks Ombudsman for immunity from suit

May 28, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — A key witness in the Senate inquiry into the national broadband network (NBN) deal on Wednesday asked the Office of the Ombudsman for immunity from any suit that may be filed in connection with the scandal-tainted contract.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman panel conducting the preliminary investigation into the seven complaints filed in connection with the NBN deal gave resigned Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr. five days to explain why he should not be cited in contempt for not showing up at the hearing as he had been required to.

Abalos is still on a Caribbean cruise with his wife. He was represented by his lawyer, Gabriel Vilareal.

At the Wednesday hearing, Ombudsman panel Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. was asked if he wanted to affirm his testimony before the Senate.

Lozada’s lawyer, Ernesto Francisco, replied that they had “deep reservations” in doing so because some of the testimony could be self-incriminating.

The lawyer was referring to answers Lozada gave on questioning by Senator Miriam Santiago of a project involving the planting of jatropha during the time the Senate witness was president of the Philippine Forest Corp.

The National Bureau of Investigation has filed graft charges against Lozada for the project.

The Ombudsman panel gave Lozada and fellow NBN witnesses Jose de Venecia III, Dante Madriaga and journalist Jarius Bondoc seven days to review the affidavits of their Senate testimonies.

Wednesday was the first time Lozada and De Venecia III showed up together at the Ombudsman’s probe into the NBN deal.

The two have testified before the Senate about the alleged kickbacks surrounding the NBN contract awarded to China’s ZTE Corp., to which First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. have been linked.

The $329-million deal was cancelled late last year by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo soon after the Senate opened its probe.(PDI)

Government says it’s ready to protect Lozada

May 25, 2008

By Christine Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:50:00 05/25/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The government is more than willing to be the protector of key Senate witness Rodolfo Lozada Jr. after the Senate cut the number of his security detail on May 1.

Presidential Management Staff Secretary Cerge Remonde said on Saturday it was actually to the “best interest’’ of the government to ensure Lozada’s safety.

Interviewed over government radio dzRB, Remonde said Malacañang and the Philippine National Police would “always be ready to provide security to Lozada and any Filipino for that matter needing their help.’’

“We are always concerned over the security of Mr. Lozada because if anything will happen to Mr. Lozada, the tendency is that it will always be blamed on the government,’’ Remonde said.

He reiterated his earlier warning that it was possible “some of the people who used him might find him (Lozada) more useful dead than alive.’’

“So it is in the best interest of the government to also ensure his security,’’ he said.

The Senate has cut the number of those assigned to protect Lozada to four security men and two drivers, according to Sister Estrella Castolone of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, who has given him refuge after Lozada charged in a Senate hearing in February that irregularities attended the now scrapped $329-million government telecommunications deal with Chinese firm ZTE Corp.

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile had sought the removal of Lozada’s security detail after learning of the mounting expenses paid by the Senate to protect the witness.

To date, the Senate has spent nearly P2 million for security and food arrangements for both Lozada and another key witness in the NBN-ZTE deal, Dante Madriaga.