Friday, May 15, 2009

Jun Lozada Victim of Injustice

By Joe Espiritu

    For days now, the case of Jun Lozada had been in the top of the news. He had been out of public attention but this time he has been resurrected. The Senate shelved ZTE scandal temporarily it seems .pending resumption after more urgent business had been disposed. If no further political mileage could be gained from this case, chances are it would have died of old age. Some people had breathed easier after the Senate inquisition. When this case is again in the public attention, there would be people who would feel uncomfortable if not threatened.

     This started when the government proposed to link the islands by a broadband network. With this technology, orders, information and other important communications would e beamed directly to persons concerned even to those who are in the outlying places. In turn, the needs and aspirations of the people in the boondocks could be communicated directly to those who really matter. This would mean bringing government nearer to the people.

     One of the companies, which offered to furnish the required network, was the ZTE Corporation a giant technology company in the Peoples Republic of China. Another bidder was a company represented by a son of the former Speaker of the House. At that time Roberto "Jun" Lozada Jr was a consultant. It was not clear whether Jun Lozada was a retained consultant of the ZTE or he was hired for this particular deal only. Lozada claimed to be present when Comelec Chairman Abalos and a well connected private citizen, the First Gentleman brokered the deal. For a sizable consideration, he said. 

     What made Lozada decide to blow the whistle is debatable. He might have done it out of conscience or patriotism or out of pique having been left out in the cold on this deal. At any rate, there were people who would want to get their hands on Lozada. One group said to be identified with the administration wanted him to remain quiet while the other, particularly from the opposition dominated senate wanted him to tell the whole story... When he came home via the international airport, he was allegedly escorted by personnel identified with the administration around allegedly for his protection. Lozada claimed he was kidnapped and released only when the issue became too hot to handle.

     Lozada faced a Senate investigation. His statements were explosive but administration senators pointed out some inconsistencies. To the uninformed observers, which most voters are, the  ZTE bomb blew up like a dud. The only casualty was Comelec Commissioner Abalos. The investigation, if one might call it that ended inconclusively. Lozada was left off for the time being.

     Things were slowly dying down. The ZTE deal like the fertilizer fund scam starring Jocjoc Bolante appeared to be heading towards limbo. Then an administration henchman Mike Defensor accused Jun Lozada of perjury. To project himself as a martyr, Lozada refused to post bail. It worked. It firmed up his image as a persecuted whistle blower. The judge, who presided over his case refused to commit him to the city jail and was too happy to grasp at the technicality, which allowed him to release Lozada to the welcoming arms of the Senate.

     Does Lozada really hold damaging information that he has to be either discredited or neutralized before thing blow up? If he does not, why make an issue of the word of a disgruntled whistle blower? Did his accusers fail to predict the repercussions that would follow his arrest? Any amateur analyst could see that. There must be something bigger than what is apparent. 

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