Press Release
May 7, 2009


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today vowed to pursue the Senate's quest for truth behind allegations of bribery and kickbacks in the $329 million NBN-ZTE broadband deal as he lauded the release of whistleblower Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada to the protective custody of the Senate.

"Kakampi ko at ng Senado ang katotohanan. Ipaglalaban natin ito (The Senate and I are on the side of truth. We will fight for this)," Roxas said soon after Judge Jorge Emmanuel M. Lorredo of the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 26 granted the Senate's ex parte motion to release Lozada to its custody.

"Hindi tayo magpapatalo sa mga nasa poder na hanggang ngayon ay patuloy na kino-cover-up ang katiwalian ng mga opisyales na sangkot dito sa scam na ito. Hindi masusupil ng kahit sino o anumang korte ang paglabas ng katotohanan (We will not be cowed by those in power who continues to try to cover-up for the corrupt officials involved in this mess. No court can stop the truth from coming out)," he added.

The filing of the court petition was spearheaded by Roxas, who likewise authored Senate Resolution No. 1049 urging the release of the witness on recognizance of the chamber and which was adopted by senators on May 4. A supplemental petition, also prepared by the Visayan senator, was filed on May 6 in support of the original ex parte motion.

In seeking the whistleblower's release, Roxas argued the Senate continues to have jurisdiction over the witness because the January 30, 2008 arrest order issued against Lozada has not yet been revoked or lifted and that the Senate legislative inquiry into the NBN-ZTE mess has not been terminated and remains subsisting because the proceedings have not yet been officially closed.

"Jun Lozada remains and continues to be a vital and material witness. Accordingly, protective custody over Jun Lozada must be retained by the Senate unless and until the inquiry into the NBN-ZTE deal has been official terminated," he insisted.

He also said that "since it is actually because of the Senate that Jun Lozada has found himself in his current is only but proper that the Senate continues to ensure the safety and security and life of Jun Lozada by reasserting protective custody over him throughout the duration of the (NBN-ZTE) case."

Roxas likewise argued that detaining Lozada at the Manila Police District jail increases threats to his life and security because conditions at the city jail are dangerous.

He also cited threats to Lozada's life, such as the bomb threat last month at a mass in Pangasinan that Lozada was scheduled to attend, an intercepted radio message saying "Pagbaba tirahin na namin (We will hit him when he goes down)," and reports from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms of various persons and vehicles that lurk around the house of Lozada and his family.

Roxas committed to the court that "by retaining protective custody over Jun Lozada, the Senate (will) ensure that Jun Lozada will make himself available in the proceedings of the instant case whenever directed by this Honorable Court or whenever required by the Rules of Court."

Judge Lorredo, in granting the Senate motion, said: "If this court can order the transfer of an accused to a hospital when accused needs medical care, it can also order the transfer of the accused to a government institution where he is safest, especially when there's reasonable ground to believe that there is a risk to his life. In this particular case, the court is of the view that he is safest in the Philippine Senate, where the senators seem to be protecting him like some sort of national treasure, a treasure with valuable gems called truth."

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