Press Release
February 6, 2008


Following the disappearance of a main witness in the National Broadband Network-ZTE deal, Senate President Manny Villar today urged the immediate resumption of the public hearing on the $330 million deal.

"Considering the turn of events, the resumption of the hearing is very urgent. More than the main issues in the NBN-ZTE transaction, the antecedental issues of his alleged kidnapping and the participation of some key government agencies in his abduction are of primordial importance," Villar said.

Villar said the disappearance of a passenger at the airport should be looked into in order to ascertain if there are rights violated in the process.

"Hindi naman maganda na nawawala na lamang ang isang pasahero ng eroplano na walang nakakakita maski na ang kanyang asawa o pamilya. Syempre kapag naririnig natin iyang salitang tarmac o eroplano, naaalala natin ang nangyari noon kay Ninoy Aquino. Iyan ay medyo may chilling effect sa ating lahat," he added.

Villar said he asked Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano to call for a hearing on the ZTE-NBN deal within 24 hours.

"I am requesting the Blue Ribbon to subpoena the CCTV (closed circuit television) tapes or discs that documented Lozada's arrival," he said.

Villar added that in the said hearing, he wants Philippine National Police Chief Avelino Razon to explain the police's participation in the disappearance of Lozada as soon as he landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Hongkong. He also wants NAIA and the Bureau of Immigration officials to be invited in the hearing.

"Nakakatakot din at hindi dapat itong mga ganitong pangyayari ay papayagan natin sa isang bansa na demokrasya. I demand their detailed report on the arrival of Mr. Lozada and his circumstances at present. The Senate wants to ensure the safety of Lozada and also to protect his family," Villar said.

The Nacionalista Party President also directed the Senate Sgt-at-Arms to immediately serve the arrest warrant to Lozada, who PNP is claiming is in their custody.

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