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.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

140 thoughts on “The great escape

  1. Malacanang will continue to present a thick face and use the Cover-Up E.O. 464 trump to prevent government officials mentioned and involved by Lozada from properly testifying in Senate.

    As for the Supreme Court to eventually get involved and try those corrupt men and women in the ZTE deal, I wouldn’t keep my hopes up. The issue (if filed) will probably drag in court while Malacanang maneuvers for setting the stage for an extended stay even beyond 2010; unless concerned people are vigilant, react correctly and resist Malacanang’s moves effectively.

  2. I’m not surprised that Lozada is not dead. This administration, is not so keen in killing people. Its either they stuff their mouths with sooo much money that they can’t sing or scare them to death (I dont condemn it though)

    With Lozada surfacing, I’m seeing a fall guy here named Abalos. With the ZTE deal and the COMELEC mess, he is so despised as himself alone, that the administration can afford to let him go. even if he talks, no one will rally around him anyway, well the Estradas will of course, but not in a way that would give him a direct link with GMA, AS LONG AS THEY KEEP FG FROM TALKING OR DOING SOMETHING, since, Abalos has been catering to both ends of the spectrum. And the middle class as well as the religious groups are so enamored with ‘moral ascendancy’ that they will never bring Abalos into their folds. Chavit was the first and only one.

    wow! abalos the disposable diaper. just like JDV is.

    what a lesson in power politics this would be if this comes true.

    My take is.. if it is not DIRECTLY connected with GMA herself.. it will never succeed.. her husband is just the straw man.. thay have to hit GMA directly..

  3. An interesting development primarily regarding discussions for a Lakas and KAMPI merger. It seems they are preparing, but preparing for what? Is it a simple alliance or preparation for a grander scheme? FVR seems intent to cover his bases and by the looks of it, he also see something fishy. Is the merger actually geared as some sort of “insurance”? The old codger may have some tricks up his sleeve but as for the true motive, that is another question.

  4. The Lakas-Kampi merger may be a ploy to calm things down within the ruling coalition. This is done to prevent further escalation either with the possible exodus of Lakas members to Kampi or an open war betweeen the parties that could be messy.

  5. Abalos was further pinned down with the testimony of Jun Lozada. The question is how much stress Abalos can take with all these exposes pointing at him.

    If Abalos breaks down with these barrage of scandals and apparent abandonment by the people whom he covered some bases, he might as well go down fighting, spilling all the beans. Labo labo na.

  6. Good thing that Lozada finally surfaced. Sounds fishy to me that Malacanan is already in the defense mode.

    Surely, Abalos will be pinned down even more by the Lozada expose. But Gloria? Unless Neri speaks up and spill more beans. Seems that he is not about to do that, already content in demolishing a small fry that his boss had already marked for liquidation.

    What’s next for the Senate? Abangan!

  7. Yes, I think Malacanang would continue its policy, to sacrifice Abalos. He should consider telling it all, at this point Abalos’ secrets is a threat to his life. The Praetorian guard showed how easy it is to pick up people and disappear if they want to, even personalities.

    The Praetorian Guard is trying to extend its powers of abductions without accountability, with Lozada they seem to have bit off more than they can chew. Poor students who got abducted, they did not have enough clout and media coverage unlike Lozada, that is why they are still “desaparacidos”.

    Give these guys an inch and they think they’re rulers.

  8. balatucan,

    Lakas should consider a split with Kampi and rid themselves of their member’s insatiable need for Pork Barrel. If Lakas would wish to have better credibility with the people, for whatever credibility is left, it’s time to split off with their a** licking mentality with Malacanang.

    They can deadlock the Executive anytime to pressure getting their Pork Barrel anyway, that is if most of them start becoming the check and balance that they are originally designed for. All they have to do is to muster some moral backbone and be united against this Malacanang designed system of “Hostaging and dangling the Pork Barrel” ploy to make undignified lapdogs out of them.

  9. What’s the point of all this partisan speculation?

    At the most fundamental level, they are all the same, and the issues (or non-issues) are no different from what they were 20 years ago.

    Same sh1t, different names.

    Small minds discuss people.
    Mediocre minds discuss events.
    Great minds discuss ideas.

  10. philippine politics is the soap opera du jour.

    i tried calling it a game once but gave up. how can it possibly be a game when only one side has the real rule book… and this book is written in eraseable ink.

  11. I forgot the name of the fat man who surfaced at the height of the “GArci tape” controversy, presenting himself as the one who has the first hand story about the cheating in 2004. Where is he now? last time i heard this man is holding a gov’t. post.

    I hope jun lozada is sincere and will not go the way that forgettable fat man has gone.

  12. Kudos to Jun Lozada. From his press conference, you can see that he was really scared. So what he did took courage.

  13. the name doesn’t sound like the one you mentioned, Jowana. He was the one who had revealed damaging stories about the cheating and recanted his testimony afterwards. He was a fat and, shall I say, not so handsome guy with a name that suits his appearance.

  14. A fascinating, unfortunately true book about massive greed and corruption.”Monitor the greed”…

    The “Pidal Dynasty” reveals the unbelievable greed and corruption among most members of the Pidal family and many of their associates.

    The first few chapters in the book focus upon the incredible rise to wealth and influence of Jose Pidal, the founder of the “Pidal dynasty.” Unelected,but so powerful by virtue of having married a very ambitious,transactional politician.

    Jose Pidal and his wife were preoccupied with power and hardly imaginable greed. The author shows how certain very greedy members of the Pidal family embezzled hundreds of millions from the public coffers and shady government deals.

    Future historians will surely consider the Pidal Dynasty” one of the great tragedies in the modern history of this country.

    The people will feel the very negative effects of the unbelievable greed of Jose Pidal and wife and their whole clan for a long,long time.

    (sorry,book not for sale in the Philippines for obvious reasons…)

  15. I’m still trying to sort out the facts (the hard facts, not the speculative or partisan pronouncements coming from different sectors) about this “abduction” scenario.

    It seemed that the PNP produced the right documents today, while Lozada didn’t himself claim that he was being detained against his will.

    On the other hand, Lozada made some ambiguous remarks and said that his affadavit wasn’t exactly correct. He also talked about miscommunications.

    Interestingly, Ricky Carandang came on (as a “guest”) on ANC this afternoon and started saying that the stories of the PNP and of Lozada regarding pre- and post-arrival events closely matched.

    Then — while in mid-sentence — ANC cut away to a very long, live speech by a Nobel Laureate visiting the Philippines.

    They never came back to Ricky; they never again referred to any of his comments. That seemed odd, as Ricky was supposedly following this story on the spot and for an extended period (he was sleep-deprived, he commented).

    So I still don’t get it: Was Lozada truly abducted? I’m not sure. It makes a difference, one way or the other…seems pretty important that this is clarified by Lozada, his kin and his clergy handlers.

    Why isn’t the media nailing this issue down?

  16. “The word Filipino is not about a family. The word Filipino is about a country. …And sometimes it worth taking a risk for our country.” — Lozada.

    A spark of hope.

  17. I haven’t heard anything Lozada has said that’s anything but hearsay. More words vs Abalos, but the FG link is weak. He is Neri-lite. Still nothing solid; more of the “he said/she said” BS.

    I think the real issue is what happened with the “abduction”/”protection” event. Being taken against his will is a major no-no and will outrage many…if not all.

  18. – what’s with puno begging the nuns to tell the truth? it’s logical to think that if PNP indeed dropped him off in la salle and stayed to protect him that puno should know. and if indeed he knew this from the start, why did he not come out and said so?
    – spin doctors, back to the bat cave. reconcile your stories and make it believable.

  19. @Liam

    “I’m not surprised that Lozada is not dead. This administration, is not so keen in killing people. Its either they stuff their mouths with sooo much money that they can’t sing or scare them to death (I dont condemn it though)”

    Eh? You don’t condemn what? What don’t you condemn?

  20. Nash, my wild guess is that Liam meant to say “I don’t condone it though”. Liam, if i’m wrong, apologies in advance.

  21. I couldn’t sleep last night and actually caught ANC’s breaking news report on Lozada before 3 am. He said a couple of times he didn’t want to be part of partisan politics surounding him and specifically asked media not to politicize his statements. He also said he surfaced because of all the misunderstanding and media reports regarding his “abduction”.

    According to him, he wasn’t abducted. If there were conflicting statements from his family, it was because he has 13 siblings – of varying temperaments.

    He also said he really doesn’t want to be grilled at the Senate and expressed this to the government. The government accommodated his hesitance by sending him to Hongkong before the hearing. He was also worried about his arrival and was particularly afraid of being in the Senate’s custody. The government then provided security for him upon his arrival at the airport. Unfortunately, the misunderstanding happened because these men met him at the tube whereas he was instructed to proceed to the immigration desk.

    He also said he was whisked away to Laguna but was asked to surface by the men with him because of all the conflicting reports in media about his disappearance. They were especially concerned about his wife and so took him to see her. This eventually led to his request to be taken to La Salle where his family sought refuge.

    He noted early in his recollection of events regarding the NBN deal that transactions in government such as these are subject to this systematic process of corruption…or words to that effect.

    I was on a sugar high that kept me awake and alert so most everything he said. I was hoping media would report about the systemic corruption and Lozada’s request not to politicize this event…or maybe I just missed it…

  22. tess,

    That’s what I’m talking about — why hasn’t the media talked with the nuns? They can verify or disprove the PNP’s story.

    Yesterday, the media was screaming “kidnapping”. Today, after hearing the PNP’s story, they haven’t (seemingly) tried to dig deeper. Interviewing the nuns, for ex, seems like an easy first step.

    I don’t understand the lack of a follow-through.

  23. i’m watching lozada’s presscon from this morning. from what he said, correct me if i understood wrong, he was taken to la salle tues night. puno said that nilamok yung mga pulis na nagbantay sa kanya. granting that all of this are true, why were we lead to a cat and mouse chase? razon, must have known where he was too, but he did not say anything to shed light on what was happening, pinagulo nga nya eh… were they waiting for more instructions from someone up there before they talk, wala pang script kasi?

  24. oh also…he said his hesitance to be grilled at the Senate was due to his inability to lie. he was asked to just stick to the technical points of the deal for the senate hearing.

    this is conflcting…the affidavit from the OP doesn’t sound like it was signed under full duress. according to him, there were points he didn’t agree with and said so, he was asked to sign it and he did anyway…labo.

    he did look terribly scared and cried. he called himself just a “probinsyanong intsik” and just a professional trying to do his job.

    it really dawned on me that even good men with good intentions can be part and parcel of corruption in government. unwittingly or not, his silence in the past about the system of corruption made him an accessory.

    just my take, if our country is going anywhere…we really ought to do our share of exposing corruption, every single time we are faced with it – on the streets, at work – wherever it happens. let’s not be a part of it anymore by turning away from it because it’s convenient. if we don’t, we could find ourselves in Lozada’s shoes someday…or worse, our children and grandchildren will.

  25. I just got a message from a friend who says Lozada will testify at the Senate tomorrow 10 a.m. and is asking for moral support and presence so that the truth can be told. Meet at the Senate at 8 a.m. daw. I hope we can all go and support Lozada. Manolo, will B/W be there?

  26. Oh dear GLOR what have gone and got yourself into dear ,it was just the other night she was on the blower to me ,full of booze she was, sigh,(gulps gin,rings bell for refill)I said to her ,I said Dear dont get involved with those in the east ,she told me it was her husband ,a tawdry creature at best,.Marias upset ,bless her ignorant soul! In other news Helen was caught wandering astray from the beehive swigging wine from a bottle ! and abusing passersby and on waitangi day of all days!

  27. Guys, things seem to be happening fast. These headlines just in the last few hours:

    1:06 p.m. “Lozada expose may mark end of Arroyo rule–MBC exec”

    1:07 p.m. “Palace rejects resign, snap polls calls”

    2:39 p.m. “De Venecia: Arroyo family ‘used public funds’ in ouster”

    3:12 p.m. “SC issues writ of amparo vs gov’t on Lozada case”

    4:57 p.m. “Arroyo orders DoJ to find culprits in NBN deal”

    This last item smacks of hasty damage control. Is the Palace getting nervous?

  28. @tess,

    Maybe Puno was trying to divert public attention from the real issue of the day which is Lozada’s explosive testimony.

    Ahemm, I told someone here yesterday not to conclude right away that JDV is a goner. Lozada’s expose came in a right time. The Palace is once again at a crisis mode after just “celebrating” the ouster of JDV 2 nights ago.

  29. “Arroyo orders DoJ to find culprits in NBN deal”

    To quote Puno’s recent question to JdV: WHY ONLY NOW?

  30. “Arroyo orders DoJ to find culprits in NBN deal”

    Maybe it should be

    “Arroyo orders DoJ to find fall guys for NBN deal” 😀

  31. “Arroyo orders DOJ to find culprits in NBN deal”-who could just be right under her nose. Arroyo thinks she can fool all people all the time. Nagpasangil ra, pero wa na gyud vertud.

  32. To a certain extent this travesty on Lozada is somewhat comical. I understand that his “abductors” were driving him around Metro Manila for hours and hours not knowing where to take him. I mean who was managing all this? And how can Bunye and Atienza now say he signed several affadavits to show he was not kidnapped. Lozada had no choice but to sign those papers. It is really very sad.

  33. if they were really out to protect him, you would expect a plan. they figured the how, take him from the tube. he told those who picked him, he wanted to show himself so as not to cause alarm, he was told it’s been taken cared of.

  34. Ay madam Fanny, Ets onli da pepol ho het GMA ho mek ol dis estori. Ay tink GMA istil da best! Don you beliv eevriting peciali Pilipin news! Ol lise en conpusion! Ok you wan more gin?

  35. ermita begging the la salle brothers to “tell the truth” about how there was no abduction.

    heh. yet another illustration about the administration’s utter lack of credibility.

  36. if this lozada is to be believed, then kasama pala si neri sa profit-sharing. i thought he merely didn’t have cojones the last time.

    bakit pag kickback ang galing magbilang ni abalos, but ask him to count zubiri’s votes and he can’t properly…

  37. Neri said that Lozada did not give him formal report, everything was verbal. As NEDA Chief why did he not order Lozada to put eveything in writing if indeed Lozadas expertise was the reason he asked him to look into the project.

  38. OMG. I’m so stupid!

    Of course when Abalos counts cash, it’s not in singles denominations. So it goes $100, $200, …….$20,000, $20,100….. .$1,000,000

    Kaya naman nung binilang niya votes for Zubiri it went, 10, 20, 30, 40, ……

  39. Remember, the head of the La Salle brothers is quite partisan as well. Remember pictures of the Gloria resign movement after the Hello Garci scandal, the guy in white robe marching along Ayala, he’s the university president.

  40. According to Neri, he asked Lozada to attend ZTE-related meeting only once. It would be ubderstable for Lozada to retort this by saying- all the rest of ZTE-related meetings he attended was upon verbal instruction of Neri.

  41. natawa ako kanina dun sa interview ni abalos habang nasa loob sya ng kotse. panay sya ng sabi na di sya pwedeng mag komento ng buo dahil di nya pa naririnig statement ni lozada.

    tapos nung tinanong don sa $130 M commission, walang kurap-matang nai convert agad sa pesos, amf! galing nya pala sa math. siguro kung ako nun, natigilan pa ako at kumuha ng calculator para mag convert.

    kasama siguro sa training ng comelec ang magconvert ng milyong dolyares into pesos.

    syanga pala, may nag check na ba kung tama yung conversion ni abalos? lol.

  42. So far…

    The La Salle brothers were “providing sanctuary” for Lozada’s family when he was in HK.

    Lozada was taken there Tuesday night and the brothers are saying they “sheltered” him until Thurs morn.


    While he was there, the family said they didn’t know where he was, they filed amparo papers with the SC and the “kidnapping” charges raged over the airwaves.

    Something doesn’t fit, but the brothers aren’t saying much and the media isn’t asking much. I guess we’ll have to wait to hear more tomorrow…..

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