When blogsome.com closed shop some years ago, my blog Reflections on the Bangsa Moro went with it. I never thought that this Irish internet company would close down. Most probably, it was bought. Years of blogging went for naught.
A few years ago, I found 2 of my blogposts there in the Internet. It had been archived by someone or a bot. I was so thankful because those were two of my most popular blogposts and I didn’t have copies of them.
Last night, I decided to look for some of my posts from that blog. I was hoping that more of my post had been saved. And I was not disappointed. Quite a number of posts were saved, archived!
My posts on the Jun Lozada-ZTE NBN affair were saved!
I followed that extraordinary event closely and I blogged about it. This is especially important nowadays because that was a result of the very close relationship between the Arroyo government and the Chinese government. China was, and still is, brimming with money. And its government use that money to gain friends, businesses and a huge politico-economic foothold in a country. The ZTE-NBN deal shows very clearly the extent of corruption in the government – it goes to the highest echelons of government. Kickbacks or “commissions” amount to millions of dollars per government official or even relatives of government officials. It also shows sheer incompetence on the part of some high government officials. But most importantly, it shows the extent of what the powerful will do to protect their interests – including kidnapping and probably even beyond.
This was the greatest telenovela in town during that time. And it was all too real.
Today, the country is again a very close ally of China. And trillions of pesos worth of projects with China are in the pipeline. We seem to be repeating history. But so far, there is no whistle blower like Mr. Jun Lozada or Mr. Joey de Venecia.
There are so many lessons to be learned from here. For posterity’s sake, I’m reposting my blogposts on the Jun Lozada-ZTE scandal here.
(Note: I added images to break up the monotony.)
February 7, 2008
JUN LOZADA, POLICE AND SENATE PLAY HIDE AND SEEK | # | Current events — jamalashley @ 12:34 pm
A visibly shaken Jun Lozada, President and CEO of state-run Philippine Forests Corp., appeared in front of the media today in a Press Conference held at La Salle Greenhills.
Lozada was supposed to appear before the Senate hearings on the ZTE Broadband deal. Hours before the scheduled Senate hearing in January 30, Lozada left the country.
The Senate issued arrest warrants against former NEDA Dir-Gen Neri and Lozada.
Neri contested the arrest order in the Supreme Court. The Court issued a restraining order and is asking the parties to present their arguments.
Lozada returned to the Philippines last Tuesday February 5. He sent messages to his friends and family that he was willing to testify.
When he arrived at the airport, he was whisked out of the terminal by policemen. Lozada’s family, friends, the media and the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms were all waiting at the airport for him. Apparently, the Sergeant-at-Arms even gave chase to the car containing Lozada.
The family of Lozada was alarmed. A brother said that he received a text message from Lozada saying that he, Lozada, was being kidnapped.
Yesterday, the Police said that they are protecting Lozada upon Lozada’s requests.
Today, Lozada held a Press Conference. He is under the protection of the La Salle Brothers. He said that he did not ask for police protection. When the police asked where he wanted to stay, he decided to go to the La Salle Brothers.
Presumably, Lozada, a Chinese-Filipino, is an alumnus of La Salle High School or University. La Salle is the school of choice for most Chinese-Filipinos.
Lozada revealed some interesting things about the ZTE-NBN deal. He said the project initially cost some $ 260 million. Former COMELEC chair Benjamin Abalos’s $ 130 million “to be taken away” from the cost; i.e., $ 130 M would be given away as “commissions”.
Lozada said that the NEDA position then was to insist that the project should be a BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) deal.
The ZTE-NBN project cost later ballooned to more than $ 330 million.
The government is now trying to do some damage control by insisting that Lozada asked for police protection. And they are ignoring the fact that by giving Lozada protection, the police was obstructing the Senate arrest warrant.
Lozada looked pitiable. He is obviously afraid for his life. He said he had received death threats. He also revealed that he does not feel safe among policemen because his brother was recently killed by policemen. The police claimed that it was an accident or something of the sort.
Good God, what kind of country are we living in? This is proof positive that the Philippines is a FAILING or FAILED STATE.
February 10, 2008
The Saga of Jun Lozada | # | Current events — jamalashley @ 9:04 pm
The “Chinese provincial” or “Probinsyanong Intsik” as he called himself, Jun Lozada almost lost his life because he dared walk and rub elbows with the rich and mighty.
Last February 5, Rodolfo Lozada, Jr. arrived in Manila from Hong Kong where he stayed for almost a week to avoid being interrogated at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. He was sent there by the government on the pretext that he was being sent to attend a seminar in London.
When he arrived at the airport, he was whisked out of the airport by men claiming to be security people sent by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Lito Atienza. Without his passport and luggage and without seeing his family and friends who were waiting for him at the airport, he was brought to a car and driven around Metro Manila and the environs for hours.
At that time, Jun Lozada told the Senate Committee that he thought he would be another Bubby Dacer. Dacer was the big time media publicist who was allegedly killed by then President Estrada’s henchmen.
Lozada was fortunate since his family and friends had told the media about his arrival. And of course, the senators wanted him to be a witness in the Senate. Media people were at the airport including senators. The Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate was also at the Senate to arrest Lozada for contempt. When he did not come out of the immigration area, the Media had a field day.
The government through PNP chief Avelino Razon, Jr, Secretary Atienza, Sec. Bunye, among others, claim that they were merely giving Mr. Lozada protection as he himself requested it.
But the telling point is that the man who led the security team presented himself to Airport officials as SPO4 (Senior Police Officer 4) Roger Valeroso. When the media people first asked General Razon who was Valeroso, he said that he was not a police officer. At that time, the police and the government were still denying that Lozada was with them. Later, when the cat was out of the bag, it was announced that Valeroso was a FORMER police officer but is now with the DENR.
Now, why would Valeroso present to the airport officials, one of them a former general, his OLD ID? Why did he not present his current ID?
Interestingly, Senator Biazon said during the Senate hearing that one of the men who took custody of the late Senator Ninoy Aquino at the airport (actually inside the airplane) was a certain Valeroso. And this guy is still at large. As everyone knows, Ninoy was killed right at the tarmac.
Another telling point is that the escorts of Lozada did not have a particular destination. They were going around Metro Manila and its environs while all the time waiting for instructions. Only after around 6 hours of driving around did the escorts receive orders to let go of Lozada because the media was making so much noise.
If this was a legitimate operation as averred by the government, why did Valeroso present an old ID? And why was Lozada being driven around in circles, as it were. There should have been a specific safe house where Lozada could rest and meet his family.
And of course, the question that the government refuses to answer is that why did they “protect” Lozada when there is a warrant of arrest for him issued by the Senate? Does this mean that the police do not recognize the Philippine Senate?
Joey De Venecia’s exposé about the ZTE NBN project was already very damaging to the Arroyo administration. Lozada confirmed all of Joey’s allegations and even provided more details.
PHILIPPINE BUREAUCRACY, A JOKE
From Sec. Neri’s testimony, one can already infer the utter lack of capacity of NEDA, the country’s premier economic and development agency, to evaluate projects. Lozada’s testimony confirmed that conclusion.
Secretary Neri depended on him, who was not even a consultant of NEDA, to evaluate multi-million dollar projects. What are the NEDA people for then?
What is more disturbing is when Lozada said that when he looked at the ZTE proposal, he saw that the figures for the government telecom expenses came from a TABLOID – Abante Tonite!! My, my! A multi-million dollar projects was based on figures from a tabloid?!! It is nauseating that NEDA, the National Economic Development Authority, still considered the project. In fact, it actually approved it later! ALL NEDA PEOPLE SHOULD RESIGN!
And later, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) took over the project. DOTC people and the government IT agencies involved in the project SHOULD ALL RESIGN!! They should all be ashamed of themselves.
Mr. Lozada blamed the political appointees for the terrible state of affairs in government agencies. He said that because the bosses are always political appointees, the long-serving bureaucrats had no hope of becoming bosses themselves and instead become “mendicants”, as he called them.
I beg to disagree with Mr. Lozada. I, too, have been in government service and I saw for myself that these “long-serving” bureaucrats got their jobs because of political connections, too and not by merit. And they, too, do not know anything about their jobs. But once inside, they are protected by the Civil Service. And these bureaucrats, sooner or later, become agency heads, too depending on how good they suck up to the powers that be.
MIND BOGGLING GREED
Mr. Lozada said that Secretary Neri told him to try to “moderate the greed” of COMELEC chair Benjamin Abalos. Abalos allegedly told him, “Proteksyonan mo yung $ 130 Million dyan!” (Protect that $130 M there!) Meaning, Abalos expects a “commission” of $ 130 M from a $ 262 M project. Wow, that is a whopping 50 % commission or a 100 % overprice!! And to top it all, the project cost was later increased and approved at $ 329 Million !! If the basic cost remains the same, that means an overprice of 197 MILLION U.S. DOLLARS!!
Previously, Mr. Joey de Venecia revealed that he was offered a $ 10 M bribe to withdraw his bid. And he revealed later that Mr. Abalos promised the President’s husband a commission of $ 70 M !
Mr. Neri, who everyone thought was “the good guy” merely pointed to Mr. Abalos as having bribed him of 200 Million PESOS, a pitiful $ 4 million. Mr. Neri and the government thought that they had a great script. Neri was supposed to be the good guy who “gave away” Mr. Abalos. For his “sin”, Neri was demoted and removed from the Cabinet. He was given the post of Chair of the Commission on Higher Education.
Before, most people were saying that Neri was a great guy, a “principled” guy, etc. After watching him at the Senate hearing, I knew he was just a common bureaucrat.
And now that Mr. Lozada decided to “tell all”, Mr. Neri was exposed as nothing but a government stooge.
Mr. Lozada told the Senate that the government suffers from “dysfunctional procurement”. This means that government supplies, he said, were not need-driven but supply-driven.
Actually, it is more like “padrino-driven.” If a political padrino has a project or supply to sell, then the government buys them. This has been the case for ages.
Mr. Lozada also told the Senate that he knew about the Southrail project, which would connect Calamba, Laguna to Matnog, Sorsogon in Southern Luzon by rail. Lozada said the project cost of $ 932 M is overpriced by 22 %. Later he said that it was overpriced by $ 70 M.
Even if one takes the lower figure — $ 70 M –, that is still quite big. It is people’s money going to some padrinos’ pockets.
Philippine National Railways (PNR) General Manager Jose Sarasola admitted that he met with Lozada and NEDA chief Neri twice in 2006 to talk about the Southrail project. He however denies that there was any overprice. ( See “No Southrail Overprice”)
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago tried to destroy Lozada’s credibility. She ended up destroying hers.
Senator Loren Legarda’s arrogance is so nauseating. She wanted to get hold of Mr. Lozada’s “secret affidavit”. Lozada wrote down what he knew about the project as “insurance”. In case something happens to him, his family would reveal that affidavit – both written and recorded. Mr Lozada politely declined to submit it because he said it was something like his “last will and testament”. But Legarda persisted. Worse, she would not even address Mr. Lozada directly, but kept on addressing the Chair. Perhaps she thought Lozada would be intimidated into submitting the ‘affidavit’ by giving the impression that the Senate could force him to do so.
In the second round of questioning, she was forcing Lozada to tell the Senate what Secretary Neri told him in confidence. Lozada again politely refused.
I hate to imagine what this country would become if Legarda would be its president.
I am still perplexed as to the real reason why Lozada came out with these revelations. It was very easy for him to deny everything. There is absolutely no paper trail that could track him down. He was not even officially connected to NEDA.
He kept on saying that he wanted the death threats to stop. But who would give him death threats? Why would government officials do that? He seemed to think that the death threats came from the Abalos camp. But why would Abalos do that? If Lozada would talk, Abalos would be implicated further.
Unless, Abalos wanted to drive Lozada up the wall until he reveals everything to the Senate. This way, Abalos may go down but so would the others.
Oh my, political scandals can be more interesting than John Le Carré novels.
February 12, 2008
The Jun Lozada Saga Continues | # | Current events — jamalashley @ 1:49 pm
The saga of Jun Lozada continued Monday Feb. 11, 2008 at the Senate committee hearings. Practically the whole nation is glued to their TV or radio sets to watch or listen as all the President’s men gang up on the poor little rich Chinese-Bicolano at the Philippine Senate.
The gang leader was Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Lito Atienza. He started the ball rolling by demanding that he speak first. Blue Ribbon committee chair Alan Peter Cayetano told him that he is scheduled to be the third speaker. But he insisted that he speak first. Administration senator Joker Arroyo asked the chair to let Atienza speak first as a courtesy to a Cabinet member. Cayetano refused.
When the first guest, Airport manager Cusi was called, he motioned that he was willing to give way to Sec. Atienza. Cayetano answered that if Sec. Atienza speaks first, then all the other guests would be asked to leave.
It appeared that Cayetano had the idea that Mr. Atienza wanted to speak first so he could lay down the framework for which all the others would follow.
As to be expected, the airport people – Gen. Manager Cusi and Asst. Manager Atutubo were inconsistent and illogical. And so were the police officers.
Atienza stuck to his script even how illogical it was. He said, for example, that Lozada was not held incommunicado because he, Atienza, talked to him. He ignored the fact that Lozada wanted to talk to people other than him. Lozada wanted to talk to his wife, siblings and friends.
Senator Biazon asked the Secretary if he knew that there was an arrest warrant for Lozada issued by the Senate. He said no. Biazon retorted that “alam ng taong bayan!” (the Filipino people knew it!)
Atienza insisted that he thought Lozada was going to London to attend a seminar. Lozada already made it very clear in his previous statements that there was no intention on his part to go to London. The seminar was just a pretext so he would be out of the country during the scheduled Senate hearings. He did not even have a visa to the UK.
Atienza exclaimed: “Bakit siya ma Da-Dacer eh, legitimong tao ang mga nagpro-protect sa kanya.? (Why would he be like Dacer when legitimate people are protecting him?!) Indeed! Who were the people “protecting” Dacer? Who were the people “protecting” Ninoy Aquino? They, too were “legitimate” people, in the sense that they were either military or police men. At least that is what most people believe, based on all the reports published or aired.
The Deputy Executive Secretary Manny Gaite stuck to his position that he merely advised Lozada on the legalities of EO 464. He maintained that he had nothing to do about Lozada’s departure.
But Lozada’s narrative is more logical. Why would Gaite be interested in Lozada when he came back to Manila such that he even sent Atty. Bautista to be Lozada’s lawyer if he had hardly anything to do with Lozada’s departure? After all, they barely know each other.
The old lawyer said that Lozada’s problem is “slightly legal” but mostly emotional or spiritual.
I quite pity the old guy as he really had nothing to do with the ZTE-NBN deal or with all this kidnapping / abduction brouhaha. His services were simply called upon by Mr. Gaite to help Lozada whatever way he can.
GEN. (ret.) ATUTUBO
Gen. Atutubo and Col. Mascarinas are the most incredible witnesses. As Asst. Manager of the Manila International Airport in charge of Security, Atatubo seems to be the first
to break the security rules of any airport. If the kidnapping / attempted rub-out scenario is true, Atutubo was the perfect man to aid the perpetrators.
First, Atutubo refused entry to the Senate Sergeant –At-Arms to the Customs Area despite the written request and the phone call request to him by the Sgt-at-Arms Col. Dimacaling. The reasons given by Atutubo are not believable.
Second, he announced to the Media and later at the Senate hearing that the man whom he allowed to “meet” Mr. Lozada at the tube was a certain SPO4 Roger Valeroso.
Immediately after his first announcement, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Razon denied that such a person exists. Later, Razon said that Valeroso was a former
police man but now employed at the DENR. Razon later changed his story again. According to him, no such person exists. There is however a Rodolfo Valeroso, a former MSgt at the Philippine Army and now with the Aviation Security Group, which is under the PNP.
If Valeroso indeed belongs to the Aviation Security Group, how come Atutubo does not know him? Isn’t he in charge of the airport security and hence, should know the Aviation Security personnel?
How in the world can Gen. Razon or Sec. Atienza claim that they were “on top of the situation” or had control of the situation then whey they did not and apparently do not know the very person Lozada’s life was entrusted with?
If Lozada had been killed, everyone would be off the hook because they did not know Valeroso personally. Atutubo could claim, just as he actually did, that he was simply shown an ID with the name SPO4 (Senior Police Officer 4) Roger Valeroso.
Third, as Asst. GM of the airport, Atutubo was the first to break the law of the land by allowing Lozada to leave the airport without passing the Immigration checkpoint. Until now, Lozada still has not been given back his passport. Had there been a rub-out, it would be very easy for the government to say that Lozada had not arrived in Manila as evidenced by his not passing through the Immigration Area.
Fourth, when Sen. Estrada asked Atutubo who ordered him to fetch (sunduin) Lozada, he answered, “Wala” (Nobody). He thus bears sole responsibility and thus excuses his superiors. This is very convenient in a kidnapping / rub-out scenario.
Fifth, despite the heavy publicity regarding Lozada’s departure and imminent return because of the arrest warrant issued by the Senate, Atutubo had the gall to deny that he knew that there was an arrest warrant for Lozada. As Asst. Manager of the Airport for Security Affairs, he should be the first to know about it because the Media even kept on showing the file video of Lozada at the airport.
Sixth, Atutubo said that his job is only to secure the person concerned within the airport premises. Yet he could not give a credible answer on why did Valeroso, an aviation security guy, accompany Lozada in his car and was with him until La Salle Greenhills?
For me, all the security measures adopted by this airport are not to insure the safety of passengers and their well-wishers but to insure that they (the airport officials) can easily kidnap or allow the kidnapping of a passenger, whether arriving or departing.
I have been to airports in Asian, European, North American and North African countries, but the Manila airport is the WORST in my book in terms of passengers and well-wishers’ comfort. But when it comes to the rich and powerful, the Manila airport is the best. The rich and mighty people do not even have to line up in the Immigration and Customs areas.
The “team leader” of the security escort of Lozada was Police Col. Paul Mascariñas. As team leader, he too, did not know personally Mr. Valeroso, the man he supposedly entrusted to take Lozada from the plane and the man who was in the same car as Lozada.
He also claimed that his order was to “protect” Lozada but neither he nor his men knew who they were protecting Lozada from.
One look at Gen. Atutubo and Col. Mascarinas, one can easily understand why Mr. Lozada was immediately intimidated. They certainly are not refined or gentlemanly, despite (because of ?) their high military ranks. As Lozada himself said: “Tingnan niyo naman siya at ako, bibitbitin niya lang ako.” (“Take a look at us. He (Mascarinas) can easily carry me off”)
Poor former Secretary Mike Defensor. Because of his eager beaver attitude, always trying to be the champion trouble shooter of President Arroyo, he found himself included in this mess.
Perhaps he should learn his lesson this time. The people did not vote for him as senator because the people are already tired of seeing him everywhere and anywhere valiantly trying to defend his benefactor even if it meant him sounding totally inane.
Lozada mentioned that Defensor told him that if he (Lozada) will spill the beans at the Senate hearing, “tatrabahohin lang namin sa media ito” (We’ll just work on the Media about this). For Media Studies students, this statement is very telling. It means that Defensor is used to using / manipulating the Media for the Administration’s purpose.
It is also very interesting when Senator Joker Arroyo asked Defensor if he got Maritess Vitug’s permission to mention her since he was “freely” quoting her. It is very very strange that Senator Joker would be concerned about a journalist’s name even though her name was mentioned in a non-incriminatory way and only in her capacity as a journalist. Yet Sen. Joker apparently could not care less when other senators insist that the witnesses incriminate other people. Media people must be very special to Sen. Joker.
This time, all opposition senators acted impeccably. No grandstanders. However, I thought that the committee chairs should limit their “clarificatory” questions so the other senators can ask their questions, too.
Last time, administration senators Defensor-Santiago and Ponce-Enrile lost their credibility. The former lost hers by trying to discredit Lozada while the latter lost his when Lozada said that he was ordered to write a letter to Senator Ponce-Enrile asking him to rescind his motion to order the warrant of arrest for Lozada. Lozada’s information confirmed to everyone that the Ilocano senator is in on the Malacanang cover-up.
This time around, Ponce-Enrile wanted to get back at Lozada, again. After hours of testimony, the senator wanted Lozada to tell the committee, again, what he thought were the true and false statements of the other witnesses. Lozada, was too tired to remember what everyone said earlier. Fortunately, he was advised by his lawyer to say that he could not do so without the transcripts of the minutes of the hearing.
Ponce-Enrile said that he was giving Lozada time to read the minutes later and he will ask the question again in the next hearing. Cayetano made it easier for Lozada by saying that he would give Lozada a copy so he could have enough time study them later.
The shocking revelation came when Senator Joker Arroyo practically reprimanded Lozada for “trivializing” the writ of habeas corpus and writ of Amparo. He again boasted that he had been a human rights crusader for a long time.
Funny, this self-proclaimed human rights crusader could not even recognize that Mr. Lozada’s human rights were violated at the airport and afterwards.
He also said something about Lozada being “selective” when it comes to giving interviews and talking to people.
Lozada answered that he was not being selective. He gave interviews to ABS CBN and to GMA-7. ABS is seen by many people as anti-administration while GMA is seen as tending to be pro-administration. He also said that while he spoke to opposition senator Lacson, he also spoke to Senator Arroyo’s wife. He said he went to Arroyo’s residence with a certain Abaya and talked with the Senator’s wife. He even described the Arroyo residence.
Arroyo was incensed! He was caught totally unawares. He accused Lozada of implicating “every Tom, Dick and Harry” in this mess.
Lozada’s nerves were shattered, again, and he broke into tears. But he insisted he was just answering the senator’s questions. Arroyo backed down and later faded away.
The questions in people’s minds are, did Arroyo know that his wife talked to Lozada? If yes, then why was this human rights crusader not interested in Lozada’s testimony?
Senator Lacson quipped that Lozada was talking to him because he was the only one interested to listen.
By the way, isn’t Zubiri a senator? Why was he absent in the hearings?
LA SALLE BROTHERS
Everyone knows that Lozada took refuge in the Boarding house of the La Salle Brothers in Greenhills. But not many people knew that his wife and children were already taking refuge there BEFORE he left Manila for Hong Kong.
The Senate should have invited the La Salle Brothers in the hearing as they could have shed light on the situation of Lozada while he was with them.
The argument of the government people is that Lozada was already a free man when he was taken to La Salle Greenhills and so there was no point for anyone to file a writ of habeas corpus or writ of Amparo.
But in the talk show TALKBACK last night, La Salle President Bro. Armin Luistro described the time when he first met Lozada. He said that he himself did not know that Loazada’s family was there all along. When he arrived at the building, he saw the armed guards. He then went to the 3rdfloor, the Cloister area and was surprised that it was locked. It was opened by a burly man whom he later learned was Col. Mascarinas. He then saw Lozada and his wife sitting at the dining area. They were both very quiet.
He later spoke to the three brothers in the cloister. He learned that the security men were also given sleeping quarters. He said: “I felt that the brothers are hostages in our own house.”
If the La Salle president thought that the “brothers are hostages” in their “own house”, then what could have been the feeling of Lozada and his wife then? Any thinking person can easily conclude that Lozada and his wife did not feel that they were safe and free at all.
So was there a kidnapping or an attempted rub-out? Let the people judge for themselves.
2 Comments »
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- I pity mr. cusi & gen. atutubo… Typical lang silang empleyado ng Pambansang Paliparan na puwedeng alisin sa trabaho anumang oras kapag di sumunod sa pinag uutos sa kanila. Buti sana kung yun lang ang puwedeng gawin sakanila… What if buhay pa ang kapalit nun? Infairness, halatang di sila sanay sa kasinungalingan esp. si Gen.Atutubo.
Comment by joanne — February 14, 2008 @ 9:14 am
- Sorry po. Hindi ako sumasangayon. Hindi tipical na empleyado sina Cusi at Atutubo. Sila po ang mga pinuno ng Pambansang Paliparan. Kung lahat ng katiwalian sa bansa ay ipapatong lamang sa pinaka “mastermind” ay walang mangyayaring mabuti dito.
Kung walang susunod, walang mag-uutos ng karahasnan. Ang sabi nga ni Ninoy, quoting Rizal I think, “There are no masters if there are no slaves.”
Hindi puwedeng sabihin na lahat ng kawalanghiyaan na ginawa ni Hitler, ni Marcos, atbp ay puwedeng ibintang lamang sa kanila at ang lahat ng kanilang mga tauhan na gumawa ng malaswa at nagpakayaman sa sarili at kinamkam ang yaman ng taong bayan ay sasabihing walang kasalanan sapagka’t sila ay sumusunod lamang sa utos ng mga nasa itaas.
February 14, 2008
JUN LOZADA – From Presidential Guards to Muslim Terrorists | # | Current events — jamalashley @ 9:20 pm
The continuing saga of Jun Lozada is taking interesting and incredible twists and turns. The Senate Committee members went on an ocular inspection at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. And what came out of the bag, or rather TWO Security LOGBOOKS, was that at least one Presidential Security Group (PSG) man, a Cpl. Ramilla (Ramilya?) was with the Toyota Altis that fetched Jun Lozada from the airport. The car was parked in a high security area – near the presidential parking space.
Mr. Lozada insisted all along that the people who “snatched” him were MILITARY men.
And, the logbook also noted that Gen. Atutubo, the airport asst. manager, went with the convoy that escorted Lozada out of the airport. Thank God for secutiry guards’ logbooks! The case against Atutubo, and his cohorts, are getting tighter and tighter.
The PSG men are the bodyguards of the President.
HERE COMES THE MUSLIMS
To divert the people from the Lozada affair, the PSG announced that they had uncovered a plot to assassinate President Arroyo and her husband. The plotters are — the Muslim terrorists!!! Who else? Specifically, the allegedly Indonesian terrorist group, Jamiah Islamiyyah.
Because of the alleged plot, President Arroyo canceled her trip to Baguio in Northern Luzon to attend ceremonies at the Philippine Military Academy, the country’s answer to West Point Academy.
Really, the Moros and the Muslim community (including the diplomatic community) should protest the Philippine government’s use of the Moros or Muslim “terrorists” as scapegoats or pretext for whatever and whenver something bad is happening to the government.
In fact, I am amazed that Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc. never protested officially or publicly when their citizens were refused entry to the country by virtue of their being Muslim. There have been many who were refused entry since 9/11.
MAKATI BUSINESS CLUB AND THE OLIGARCHY
The prestigious Makati Business Club asked for the resignation of Environment Secretary Lito Atienza and Chair of the Higher Education Commission, Romulo Neri because of their roles in the Lozada affair.
Mr. Neri responded to calls that he tell the Senate what he knows, just like what his friend Lozada did, by saying that the problem is not just the ZTE-NBN deal but the root cause, which is the oligarchic state of the nation. He said that this problem has been with the Filipinos since Spanish times.
Well, one powerful oligarch group, the Makati Business Club, had just announced that it is against Neri and his group. And it looks like there are more oligarchs now in the anti-administration camp than in the administration camp. As one powerful oligarch said, there is still life for Neri after 2010 if he makes the right decision now.
February 15, 2008
ARROYO GOVT IN PANIC OVER LOZADA AFFAIR | # | Current events — jamalashley @ 10:36 pm
The Arroyo government seems to be in a panic mode as the Lozada affair is gaining momentum. The Catholic Church, other Christian churches, Big Business, students, and civil society militants are throwing their support behind Mr. Lozada.
On the other hand, Arroyo’s political allies – governors, congressmen, mayors, etc. – gathered today to throw their weight behind the government.
ARROYO’S LEGAL LUMINARIES
To steal the thunder from the Senate, two government agencies announced they will conduct their own ZTE-NBN investigations. The Ombudsperson announced that her office issued subpoenas to the personalities involved in the ZTE-NBN deal, including Mr. Lozada and Mr. Mike Arroyo, the presidential husband.
Coincidentally, the first hearing will be held at the same time as the Senate hearing. How convenient. All the president’s men can all attend the Ombudsman hearing and have their monologues there with their captive press while Mr. Lozada and Mr. De Venecia will be at the Senate with the freer press and the Filipino people.
Also coincidental is the fact that the Ombudsperson, Ms. Merceditas Gutierrez was a law classmate of Mr. Arroyo.
And old funnyman Justice Secretary Gonzalez is also putting up his own investigation. Does the administration expect the people to give an iota of credibility to this investigation? Mr. Gonzalez is hardly impartial. Just listen to him talk!
And what will the President’s legal counsel, former congressman Apostol’s, role be in these investigations? He told the media that Mr. Lozada should be DEPORTED to China for causing all this trouble! Mr. Lozada is a natural-born Filipino whose father was a Chinese immigrant.
Thousands of Filipino went to the Makati rally to call for Arroyo’s resignation. Their slogan: “Sobra Na, Tama Na, Kilos Na!” (It’s too much already! stop it! Get Moving!)
What is quite nice about the rally is that the politicians, at least the ones in position now, decided not to deliver speeches. There are more songs and entertainment numbers. But the songs are all protest songs.
What discourages me to go to such rallies is seeing all the politicos prancing around as if the people owe them their lives. I get the shivers when I see the Erap boys (didn’t the people – with the aid of the military – kick Erap out of office?) holding hands with Ramos’s boys, Cory’s boys and the former Communist leaders now turned politicians.
By the way, I was in EDSA 1 and EDSA 2.
THE MUSLIM BOGEYMEN
Meanwhile, not content with the Presidential Security Group’s (PSG) announcement that the Jamiah Islamiyyah, allegedly a Muslim terrorist group from Indonesia, is bent on assassinating the President and her husband, the military chief of staff announced that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is scheduled to bomb places in Metro Manila.
Can the numbskulls in the police and the military please give the Muslims a break? If they want to bring in tanks to Metro Manila, they don’t have to use the Muslims / Moros as an excuse.
With the EDSA 86 anniversary only a week or so away, it looks like the carnival spirit is coming to town. Like in EDSA 86, a “locus of oceanic feelings of union” is in the air, thanks to Mr. Lozada’s testimony. Mikhail Bakhtin, the Russian philosopher, semiotician and Rabelaisian scholar wrote that one reason for people’s attraction to the carnival is “the foregrounding of social overturning and the counter hegemonic subversion of established power via the ‘world upside down’.” Just like the two or three previous EDSAs, the call to the people to turn those in power on their heads is getting louder and louder.
The Adminstration is already sending in the clowns.
Let the Carnival begin!
February 16, 2008
TRANSCRIPT OF JUN LOZADA’S STATEMENT | # | Current events, Socio-Political — jamalashley @ 1:12 am
The transcript of Jun Lozada’s statement is in my other blog, The Setting Sun. Click here.
END OF PART 1