It is amazing how the wheels of justice can move swiftly, and with impunity, when applied to GMA critics and oppositionists.
Two years ago today, 21 April, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo left her critically ill husband and flew (according to the Philippine Information Agency, “like a thief in the night”) to Boao, China. Her main purpose was to sign what we all know now as the ZTE-NBN contract. The ensuing scandal made whistle blowers Joey de Venecia, Jarius Bondoc, Romy Neri, and Dante Madriaga, household names. However, the most famous whistle blower of all connected to this drama is the man we fondly call JLo, Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada.
On 14 April, an arrest warrant was issued against Jun in connection to a perjury case filed by another household name, GMA “nino bonito” Mike Defensor. Defensor claims that he did not ask Jun to say no such kidnapping took place, and to swear that he, Jun, knew nothing about the ZTE-NBN deal. Although dismissed for lack of probable cause, another judge, Cicero D. Jurado Jr., upheld Defensor’s appeal and gave the go signal for an arrest on 19 March 2009. Any day now, we fear that Jun will be hauled off to jail for telling it “like it is”.
“We will not be surprised if the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Report on the NBN/ZTE investigation will be released soon after Jun Lozada is convicted of the crime of perjury (which may take only a few weeks, given the administration's determination to pin down Lozada). We expect the report to clear GMA, the First Gentleman, and Benjamin Abalos. After all, they will argue, Jun Lozada lied. This seems to be the Palace script”, according to BnW Lead Convenor Enteng Romano.
To date, there are 16 civil and criminal cases filed against Jun Lozada and members of his family. These are in various stages of resolution. All of these charges were filed soon after he testified at senate hearings in February 2008. In contrast, the Ombudsman has yet to file cases against Benjamin Abalos and Jocjoc Bolante despite a preponderance of evidence.
“Crusaders of truth are hunted down, made to suffer while those that play the Gloria game enjoy high paying government positions, perks, and most of all, freedom”, says BnW Executive Director Leah Navarro, “Jun Lozada has been persecuted more than enough. He hasn’t been able to return home in over a year, work a decent job, or visit a mall with his family. Sure, he travels around the country doing speaking engagements, but he does this to stay alive. Jun hides in plain sight and is always in the company of the religious and armed bodyguards. That is not living.”
The Black and White Movement condemns this latest cheap shot by administration henchmen. We find it ironic that the very person who dared to stand for the truth is accused of lying by the very people who patently and routinely lie. Those who followed closely the Senate hearings can readily discern who is lying and who is telling the truth.
We denounce the continuing use of the agencies of justice by the GMA administration in persecuting its critics, particularly Jun Lozada, while at the same time delaying, if not perverting justice to protect its loyal allies.
We staunchly express our unequivocal support for Jun Lozada in his determined struggle to stand for the truth. We call on every Filipino who still values truth and decency to denounce in the strongest possible terms this travesty of justice.
In the end, our silence makes lies permissible. - END