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Feb 07

The great escape

DSC00026.JPG This photo was taken in the vicinity of the Senate flagpole last night as a candle-lighting was held last night, to pray that Jun Lozada would surface and be released safely. The man in the red shirt is one of the brothers of Jun Lozada. Earlier that day, Lozada brother seeks amparo writ from SC. The candle-lighting was in support of that effort. The gentleman beside Lozada’s brother is Black & White Movement Convenor Vicente Romano III. You can read Affidavit A vs Affidavit B: ZTE witness preparing new story, says Ermita for a background on Jun Lozada’s odyssey as a potential witness and the Palace counter-effort to get Lozada to change his testimony.

Who is Jun Lozada? You can begin with an entry last week in Ricky Carandang’s blog, The Lozada Factor, posted when Lozada, due to testify before the Senate, was suddenly sent out of the country by the Palace:

Lozada has first hand knowledge of many of the events that led to the deal being signed. When the senate’s investigation zeroed in on him, he started getting “anonymous” death threats, followed by summons to meet with Palace officials. Earlier this week, he was ordered to cool his heels in Hong Kong so he couldn’t testify. But he can’t stay there forever and no one really knows what he’ll do when he comes back. He may succumb to the pressure, or he may — despite the great personal risk to him and his family– rise to the occasion and tell the truth about what he knows. And that’s giving someone in the Palace sleepless nights.

Additional material on Lozada and why he matters can be found in Newsbreak’s Senate Key Witness to Corroborate Neri.

The sleepless nights, as Carandang puts it, must have intensified when it became known Lozada was coming home. He was supposed to be met at the airport by concerned citizens and the Senate Sergeant-at-arms. Instead, he was abducted, in one of the crudest and most bumbling kidnappings in our political history. First, Gov’t grabbed witness in NBN deal–sources:Lozada met by airport men, whisked off via tarmac. See also, Lozada arrives from HK, but vanishes at airport. An account also in notes of marichu c. lambino.

Bumbling all around. Razon first claimed there was a letter from Lozada asking for security, then claimed the Police got a request from the family: PNP chief insists Lozada, sibling sought PNP protection. Then, today, he claims Lozada then wrote a letter asking for government security on the spot, when he arrived, after the PNP was tipped off by one of Lozada’s sisters. See: Atutubo: Lozada not missing, was picked up by cop then Airport exec says presidential guards fetched Lozada and then MIAA exec says Lozada went out of NAIA with cop, driver and Lozada illegally held by PNP, wife says; Razon denies claim; then, No Lozada in police custody, Senate told then PNP clueless on Lozada but says cops guarding exec.

The brothers and wife went to Court to secure Lozada yet the government kept insisting it had been asked to secure Lozada, which of course ignores the question of why government intervened to spirit him away from the Senate sergeant-at-arms (see Brother disputes PNP, says no Lozada asked for protection Brother disputes PNP, says no Lozada asked for protection). Can you say obstruction of justice? But wait, no, it’s justice if government does it but it isn’t obstruction if it’s uncomplimentary to the government. As it turns out, Lozada now says he was whisked away from the airport by men sent by Sec. Lito Atienza (his boss) and released when he’d signed affidavits contradicting his earlier ones.

The great escape was more of a government blunder worse than a crime (for them). The papers missed out on it today because the story broke at 2 a.m.see the stories: Lozada finally surfaces, links Abalos, Big Mike to ZTE mess. Also Lozada: Abalos insisted on $130-M kickback on NBN deal and, Lozada unmasks FG, Abalos in aborted NBN deal and the Senate takes custody of Lozada.

It’s been a nerve-wracking few days!

thumbs up.jpg Meanwhile, back at the ranch… The post-mortems on Jose de Venecia Jr.’s stint as Speaker of the House ranged from the Inquirer editorial The assassination of De Venecia and The Business Mirror editorial ‘Night of the Long Knives’ to the PCIJ story Chronicle of an ouster foretold (see also How lawmakers voted in vacating Speaker’s seat). Manuel Buencamino’s column Naked runner inspired my column for today, Live from the Bastusang Pambansa.

So what happens now to the ruling coalition? Journal of the Jester-in-Exile has three entries in a row by way of analysis: Let the Numbers Speak, Part I: Anatomy of a Lynching and Let the Numbers Speak, Part 2: Opening Salvos and Let the Numbers Speak, Part 3: Death by Co-Option.

Then Ramos: De Venecia to remain president in Lakas-Kampi merger. An offer the Palace has to refuse? Not really -more of a face-saving merger, but with a last-ditch effort to give FVR some wiggle room, too. The Lakas old guard in the Palace want JDV sacrificed to maintain closeness to the President; Ramos is trying to gain time to either convince JDV to pipe down or to hang himself, so that the party can salvage a little dignity before it turns into a fully-owned subsidiary of Kampi, Inc.

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  1. inodoro ni emilie

    truth is, the whole process of deal-making with government is riddled with corruption. we’ve all heard this before…yet the system remains…you can change all the players and we’ll still have the same results…

    and what’s the point? let’s move on?

  2. hawaiianguy

    Benigno: “I hold the first one in high esteem only as far as it achieved by sheer luck the desired outcome.”

    You mean, People Power 1 did not even meet a standard of rationality? that there was no purposive planning but an outburst of emotions, fiesta celebration? So that’s pinoy character, huh?

    Are you talking here of some kind of a rational choice theory in this example?

  3. TonGuE-tWisTeD

    That huge sum of money? What for?

    How about paying off the likes of the Garci Generals, politicians, would-be witnesses, etc. (even GMA apologists here). To dismiss them with final payment eases the burden of “utang na loob.” -baycas

    My friend! Long time!

    Well, but you forgot the Garci-Generals’ expense were paid by the jueteng connections. Those who didn’t promptly get theirs are paid via promotions and post-retirement appointments. They collect ther due in this mode. No rush for upfront payments.

    Politicians, before May last year were all looking to get their funds from Razon’s kitty, but the shrewd crony won’t put up enough from his pocket, FG can’t freely move his money around after the Hypovereins incident, too. Too many people watching and feeding money movements info to the opposition. They made it look like FG couldn’t help them because he was sick.

    Abalos’ Broadband project was the solution. (Why not Joey? JDV will be looking after Lakas only. Gloria has Kampi in addition.) With Gloria’s signature, Abalos got $46M in advance, according to a source.

  4. Mita

    inidoro, i didn’t say that…

    my intention was to emphasize that our country’s problems are bigger than mere personalities or individuals. i guess i didn’t get through to you….

  5. nash

    @inidoro,

    tama ka 😀

    I should have said that one sentence about the output ek-ek was at first tautological, then contradictory, then just plain rubbish.

    However those two sentences about the English and the output ek-ek taken together reinforce each other.

    hay, siguro, antok lang ako.

  6. TonGuE-tWisTeD

    looks like joey de venecia was supposed to be the lead on a BOT deal with abalos and zte as mere suppliers. but when abalos insisted he gets his kickback, joey was incensed because he couldn’t come up with the money. according to lozada, this is where the first gentleman comes in…abalos supposedly called him and the succeeding events turned the whole deal upside down, with joey de venecia out and the deal with only zte working it with a Chinese government loan…” – Mita

    A fairly acceptable assessment based on what’s out so far. But things will get worse once the next witness comes out. This time via the other route – Arescom’s.

    The details known about this so far is that this will link with Joey’s, Neri’s, and Lozada’s testimonies and converge to produce a clearer true picture.

    Wait muna ang lahat. Patience, y’all.

  7. DevilsAdvc8

    considering that the bozos that they say have betrayed them (say, in failing to “impeach” the President) were actually the same bozos they elected into office.

    but that’s the problem benigs, we NEVER DID VOTE for those bozos!

    GMA – beneficiary of EDSA II, cheated in 2004 (the people voted for FPJ, not her)
    Abalos – appointed
    Esperon – appointed
    Avelino Razon – appointed
    Neri – appointed
    Lozada – hired
    Mike, Mikey, Dato Arroyo – self-appointed

  8. DevilsAdvc8

    can anyone still even believe that GMA wants reforms?

    the mere fact that she keeps appointing scalawags in govt PROVES w/o A DOUBT her intentions. all her press releases are just that – LIP SERVICE.

    have i belabored it often enough? that the power of the president to effect reforms lie in its power to appoint.

    this discretionary power if abused, results in what we have today. but if used wisely, would make a big turnaround for the country.

    you have any complaints about the many govt branches we have? you can trace it all back to the president. bec she’s the one who calls the shots in the bureaucracy.

  9. Geo

    Here we go again.

    Facts, folks…facts.

    Once again, solid facts are lacking that support the allegations.

    The last time I came in here was after the Glorietta blast. I asked for calm and for patience; for the need to gather facts before jumping to conclusions. As it turned out, the overwhelming evidence revealed that it was an accident, not a bomb planted by the admin for so many reasons.

    Now we have more factless accusations being thrown about.

    And what facts DO exist are ignored.

    Does anyone, for example, know the difference between BOT and BOO? JDV3’s proposal was BOO — They were going to charge fees to the gov to use the backbone…at the kind of rates that the telcos are now charging (which is one of the major reasons for the gov to build the backbone in the first place!).

    Too many hot words so far…and too few cold facts. This continues to trouble me; emotional frenzy is the opposite of rational thought, no?

  10. TonGuE-tWisTeD

    As it turned out, the overwhelming evidence revealed that it was an accident, not a bomb planted by the admin for so many reasons.” – Geo

    Overwhelming evidence? Where? Where’s the Australians’ report? The FBI’s? The Israeli’s?

    What came out was a Bomb Data Center report that RDX was found. Dr. Etheridge’s. The Malaysian expert’s. The US lab’s.

    Overwhelming evidence were provided by the other side that disproved the methane-diesel theory. Yes, overwhelmingly!

  11. Kabayan

    GEO,

    You like solid facts on what the administration is up to GEO? Be part of the inner sanctum of Gloria’s Cabinet and council of Advisers. It should be as cold as facts can get.

    Unable to do it? You could do a CSI. Of course you must remember that Malacanang’s Praetors hold the high leadership of the NBI, the PNP, and the AFP.

    There could also be a Congressional investigation (***canned laughter***.) Or a DOJ investigation (***hilarious canned laughter***)

    Another option would be to gauge their motives depending on their actions, or gauge their actions depending on their motives. An inexact science but you could more or less see if what they do is right or wrong, democratic or repressive, Machiavellian or honest.

  12. Liam Tinio

    @nash

    it was really ‘condemn’
    im machiavellian remember?

  13. TonGuE-tWisTeD

    can anyone still even believe that GMA wants reforms?” – DevilsAdv8

    Arroyos’ rapacious greed knows no limits. With all the kickbacks already made, she still wants the constitution changed. Insatiable appetite, unbelievable ambition!

  14. Geo

    TongueTwist,

    You haven’t studied the Glorietta facts closely. No blast crater, no IED, no burned, mangled bodies. These facts trump the claim of a small trace of RDX being “found”. The US and Aussie govs back the gov’s claims, btw.

    In this ZTE case, there was a huge stink made about getting all the documents. Now that the documents are gathered, no one wants to analyze them? Why is that? Where is the media on this? Again, no one even talks about what JDV3’s offer truly was…which was disadvantageous.

  15. Kabayan

    DevilsAdvc8 said:
    “can anyone still even believe that GMA wants reforms?”

    —-

    Yes Gloria wants reforms … she wants to reform society to suit her and her allies hunger for absolute power.

  16. Geo

    Here’s a fact — Only Sen Peter Cayetano has been proven to be a liar in all of this run-around the country has experienced. Let’s now hear him cite the Bible. Sheesh.

    A big drama with liars and cheats everywhere. Welcome to politics…the same politics we see in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Singapore, France, Germany, the US…..

    Selectively believing one side vs another by choosing which factless stories to swallow is not analysis…it is partisanship.

    Personally, I wish the media here was much more into cutting through the BS and discerning what the facts are. But it usually doesn’t happen; both sides (all sides) have their mercenary press. Objective truth is lacking; spun “truth” is rampant. This is my major complaint.

  17. benign0

    “but that’s the problem benigs, we NEVER DID VOTE for those bozos!

    GMA – beneficiary of EDSA II, cheated in 2004 (the people voted for FPJ, not her)
    Abalos – appointed
    Esperon – appointed
    Avelino Razon – appointed
    Neri – appointed
    Lozada – hired
    Mike, Mikey, Dato Arroyo – self-appointed” — DevilsAdvc8

    Dude, I was talking about Congress.

    And even if Gloria hadn’t allegedly “cheated” in 2004, then that would make FPJ our president today. In case I hadn’t calibrated my Bozo Detector lately, I’d say it’d still be buzzing like crazy even under that scenario.

  18. Bencard

    yes, geo and mita. another much-ado-about-nothing so far vis a vis the president and her husband. abalos’ case is a different matter. i think with the testimonies of jdv3, neri and lozada, based on personal knowledge, corroborating each other, a prosecution for attempted bribery (at least) could be pursued. until conviction by a court of law, sweeping conclusions are premature and counter-productive.

  19. TonGuE-tWisTeD

    Geo: You said there was no this, there was no that. Proving the absence of some things does not prove their theory, however indirectly incongruent, is correct. Basic logic. I cannot prove that God exists, but I can’t say therefore, you were created by the devil.

    Not studied the Glorietta bombing? Read my blog. I have personal technical knowledge of these things way before terrorists became fashionable. For example, I could ignite LPG using innocent-looking but static-charged water from your regular Starbucks cup. And not one molecule of evidence can be traced.

    Sorry, but I’m tired of hearing the same arguments. Visit the nearest library if you suspect Googled websites are not convincing enough.

  20. Geo

    TongueTwist,

    Sorry, but I’ll take the word of dozens of professional experts who were on the spot, rather than yours. Hope you don’t mind.

    I realize that the three goverments COULD be forcing all of its’ experts to lie at the same time…but that kind of conspiracy is quite tough to pull off.

  21. Kabayan

    Live in Senate: According to Lozada, while with his PNP “escorts”, they were told that Lozada be returned as the Media has become “hot” on his disappearance (mainit na ang media.)

    Media’s active vigilance have had a hand in Lozada’s early return and may even have saved his life.

    That is why one of the objectives of Gloria’s administration is to neuter the media as they have the capability to foil their nefarious schemes.

  22. UP n student

    @TonGuE-tWisTeD: not being facetious here, but when you ignite LPG using innocent-looking but static-charged water from your regular Starbucks cup, do you the igniter die, or can you do it remotely? If remotely… still no evidence?

  23. Bencard

    tongue-twisted, just one question about your “basic logic”. how can you not prove God’s existence and yet assume that the devil exists? you haven’t seen either of the two, have you?

  24. alas ka dora

    Yes, mr. John Mariano, it was Mr. Michealangelo Zuce, the man presented to be with so much to say about the Gloriagate scandal but went pffft because he ate everything that he spewed. I hope this Lozano will not turn out to be another Zuce.

  25. The Ca t

    Unable to do it? You could do a CSI. Of course you must remember that Malacanang’s Praetors hold the high leadership of the NBI, the PNP, and the AFP.

    Even the CSI would tell you that the testimony of Lozada regarding the phone call of Abalos to the FG is a very weak evidence. He did not even hear the voice at the other end. Sus naman. Granting that Mike Arroyo was really talking to Abalos, how would he prove that ?

  26. The Ca t

    The testimonies of Lozada confirmed the statement of Atienza that he sought his protection.

    SO there was no abduction. Masyadong madrama ang media. Sumali pa ang mga kapatid eh nagtago lang pala sa Hong Kong. Sus.

    Inis sa photo na napapapligiran siya ng madre. INIS ako sa photo ng mga lalaking nagtatago sa saya ng mga babae.

  27. Kabayan

    The Cat,

    Would you rather na di siya tatago sa saya ng mga babae at i-salvage si Lozada?

  28. Mita

    CaT, Lozada’s emotions are getting in the way kasi. I caught his press conference as it happened. There were times it sounded like he was exonerating and pointing a finger at the government – at the same time. Since these people were all his colleagues and some good friends, that is understandable.

    However, it did make a few things confusing and muddled which I’m afraid could really hurt his testimony.

    I agree with Geo, there’s very little respect for hard FACTS as far as media is concerned. I don’t entirely blame media since they are in the business of “selling” the news. It’s easier to sell controversial opinions/conclusions based on sound bites picked from hours-long events. It comes to a point where the truth is buried in all the mess until it’s only opinions and conclusions that the naive public remembers. No one to blame but us consumers…

    Tongue, yes, let’s wait and be patient…and not jump to conclusions.

  29. ricelander

    DOTC says it stands by the uprightness of the contract. The Asec or was it Undersec claims the documents would speak for themselves. Now, assuming the Senators are just using the scandal to grandstand and the press just after sleaziness, why can’t this government fight back as it should: gather all the pertinent documents, create a lineup of experts to defend the project gather all those involved then challenge everyone criticizing the contract in an honest-to-goodness debate? When you go out of your way to impress on people you would rather have everyone with the knowledge about the project be elsewhere except within reach, or invoking right of whatever kind basta hindi lang magsasalita, what the hell should anyone expect?

    About the so-called kidnapping angle: e hindi pala pina-kidnap, what should those ‘wrongfully accused’ personalities do? Keep quiet, become inaccessible all of a sudden, celfones turned off when they should be raging in anger for being unjustly accused of such a misdeed?! Then show up hours later with stories that would not fit with one another? You have the entire power of the government machinery to hunt down people making you look like a criminal but the reaction we get is nothing near that of “a raging lion” wronged which we expect of an innocent one, but silence of a powerless and hapless and brainless…

  30. hindi ako botante

    Ricelander,

    Sinong expert ang tangang tetestigo at papagamit sa mga politiko for their grandstanding. Masisira lang ang pangalan at dignidad nila at baka matigok pa sila. Kita mo na lang gano katakot mag testigo si Lozada, dahil either way gagamitin siya…

  31. nash

    @Liam

    “it was really ‘condemn’
    im machiavellian remember?”

    No. It makes you a rather sad and evil person. Funny you mention Machiavelli from the good ol days of the scheming Medicis and you claim it will take us 500 years to learn democracy. As it turns out, you contribute to this.

    Are you really a member of Singles for Christ (ie Pangit Kasi?). I find this non-Christ-like 😀

  32. phil

    i think enough is enough. To All Jedis may the force be with you

  33. TonGuE-tWisTeD

    Geo,
    Understood and accepted. There isn’t conspiracy at all. Yet. The reports were hidden still they use the same reports to justify their findings. I prefer people making their judgement based on established scientific knowledge than twisted logic employed by the Zero-credibility Pulis Ni Pidal.

    ——–
    Bencard,
    I have not visited Malacañang lately so, no, I have not seen the devil in the flesh.

    Seriously, the PNP logic, as quoted by Geo goes like this: It is not red or green, it does not taste like an apple, it does not look like an apple. Therefore, it is an orange.

    ——-
    UP n student,
    One could be creative and looking at the endless possibilities of triggering an explosion using electrostatic discharge, combining it with natural forces say, gravity, it is possible. In the subject area, you could replicate Ben Franklin’s lightning kite and key experiment by attaching a piece of thread to the aircon duct’s insulation where ESD is generated once the airconditioning is switched on you can place the key near the gas source and presto, no IED. Even if they had done a 100% sweep!

    Again the possibilities are endless but PNP’s convenient way out is the negligence angle to cover for the sloppy, lame, unscientific procedures they did and for those they failed to do.

    The only way to settle it, I guess, is to reconstruct the whole basement or a full size model and prove their theories there.

  34. hawaiianguy

    Tongue: “The only way to settle it, I guess, is to reconstruct the whole basement or a full size model and prove their theories there.”

    But they have already concluded on their theory. They will look more foolish than what they already are, if they find contrary evidence. Kahiyaan na ito, di na pwede ulitin ang investigation.

  35. TonGuE-tWisTeD

    hg,
    Ayala has the resources to do it especially if the case goes to court. If it does, I’m lending Ayala some of my knowledge amd experience. For free. The APMC guys know me personally from past transactions.

  36. Bert

    One thing that puzzles me is the silence of the senate on Lozada’s revelation that he could hear the senator’s conversations from the radios of the abductors while he was being given the merry-go-round. The senators are bugged, been informed about it, and not a whimper from any of them. We are indeed a hopeless case.

  37. mlq3

    ert, there was repeated quizzing on the bugging thing. also, one thing the senators raised but buried by the other questions but which they will hopefully return to, is that on the night neri went into executive session the palace was prepared to take him out of the senate, by force if necessary, which would have meant an armed invasion of the senate premises. manny villar confirmed this to me personally as did some members of the senate security staff i talked to.

  38. Kabayan

    mlq3,

    Armed invasion of the Senate premises? A grave situation indeed. If that happens the offices of the AFP and PNP HQs would probably empty with a sign hanging on the doorknob “Out for official business, Gloria’s Praetors at work”

    One can only imagine the repercussions if that happened. Would have been a grand blunder worse than what they did to Lozada, only if it pushed through, they would have taken the rest of the Filipinos in flames down with them(i.e. By this inept and corrupt administration). I would not be surprised if that kind of shit hits the fan, many would first and foremost hunt for that Siraulo in the DOI and then give him a brain transplant.

  39. Bert

    mlq3 said: “ert, there was repeated quizzing on the bugging thing. also, one thing the senators raised but buried by the other questions but which they will hopefully return to, is that on the night neri went into executive session the palace was prepared to take him out of the senate, by force if necessary, which would have meant an armed invasion of the senate premises. manny villar confirmed this to me personally as did some members of the senate security staff i talked to.”

    Those are not the point, I mean, the senate, a co-equal branch of the government, here being violated, bugged, their right to privacy as an institution trampled with impunity by an armed forces ordained by law to protect the national interest, and letting itself be violated by not doing anything except ‘repeatedly quizzing’ a witness? The citizenry wants to help, by all means…it’s a matter of national survival. But, if the senate, the last bastion of our democratic institutions, don’t want to help itself, are we all now prepared to roll down into the abyss?

  40. fanny barnham smythe

    hello pinoys! Fanny barnham -smythe here i am looking for a driver dears! hold on whilst i refill my gin and tonic…….maria dear!! rings bell ,oh where is that silly incompetent ,so hard to get good domestics these days dear ,..i need a driver to dislodge me at various watering holes in Manila ,all interested young men may apply

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