The Lozada crisis: Diversion follows the failed cover-up
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-02-17

Seven men of the same ilk peddling a big lie cannot overturn the credible story of one simple man.

But seven not-so-wise men tried. They were Secretary Lito Atienza, former Secretary Mike Defensor, Deputy Executive Secretary Manny Gaite, PNP Director-General Avelino Razon, PNP Sr. Supt. Paul Mascarinas, Airport AGM Angel Atutubo and lawyer Antonio Bautista.

They comprise the loyal choral group of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime who tried to dispute the Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada kidnapping story during the February 11 Senate ZTE hearing.

Two geriatric senators even attempted to derail the February 11 Senate hearing. Sen. Joker Arroyo raised a potential conflict with the court once those implicated go on trial. But thanks to the superb stewardship of Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, the Senate Hearing proceeded as planned.

Sec. Lito Atienza and Atty. Antonio Bautista depicted themselves as the victims. They completely disregarded the agony of the man who was spirited away against his will upon arrival at the airport and was subjected to the scariest car ride of his life.

By the time Senators Alan Cayetano, Ping Lacson, Dick Gordon and Mar Roxas were through grilling the incredible seven, their demeanor looked sapped and shrunken.

Bautista was particularly forceful — vehemently resenting being dragged into the controversy when all he did was to “serve” Jun Lozada’s interest. His attempts to paint himself in the high ground only gave him a higher platform for his fall when Sen. Lacson asked him to comment on a dossier that reported on Bautista’s dark past — he was fired as dean of a law school over a sexual harassment case. Bautista lamely explained that it was about a libel case, not sexual harassment.

A very reliable source told me that there indeed was a libel case, except that this resulted from the sexual harassment issue.

Atty. Bautista’s legal knowledge was even placed in doubt when he averred that Lozada should have signed the Writs of Habeas Corpus and Amparo that were filed in the Supreme Court. Sen. Rodolfo Biazon pointed out the ridiculous scenario depicted by Bautista in asking for the person who was missing to sign for these writs that were meant to account for his own whereabouts.

Airport Assistant GM Angel Atutubo and PNP Sr. Supt. Paul Mascarinas were tongue-tied and could hardly answer questions. If they did, they seemed to recite memorized programmed lines. Several of the senators had to say to them: “You did not answer my question!”

From where I sit, wrecking another chair, the biggest loser in this cover-up conspiracy was my EDSA 1986 comrade — Joker Arroyo. His precipitate outburst when Lozada mentioned having met with his wife Fely Aquino-Arroyo in their house raised a lot of eyebrows.

What was that outburst for? How can one claim to be a champion of human rights and be such a bully to one who was merely trying to explain that he is open to talking to everybody?
Tony Abaya (husband of Belle) was identified to have brokered that meeting. He later confirmed to media that he brought Lozada to Fely Aquino-Arroyo but that he did so only because this was requested by Lozada and Romy Neri.

That was challenged by information going around that the meeting was not a “private” matter as Joker claimed, but that it had something to do with the ZTE controversy and a supposed client of Fely who was also mentioned in the ZTE hearings.

Last Thursday, my good friend Mariasun Azcuna (wife of Supreme Court Justice Adolf Azcuna) relayed to me a message from Fely Aquino-Arroyo regarding that meeting. Adolf Azcuna and Fely Aquino-Arroyo were once law partners.

Fely’s message was: “Wow, what a sordid story! Whoever is peddling these lies must have a diabolical mind. I met Jun Lozada in September 2007. The meeting was requested and arranged by Tony who is an old friend, who was a classmate of Neri in college. Tony said Neri and Lozada needed legal advice. Lozada told me he did not want to appear before the Senate. At that time there was no warrant of arrest against him yet. Since there was no compulsory process issued against him, I said there was no compulsion for him to go to the hearing. At that time, he did not have to testify if he did not want to. I know Razon (referring to Arroyo crony Ricky Razon) only casually. I am not his lawyer, neither am I his consultant. They give me too much credit, in terms of my convincing powers and connections!”

Last Friday, during my four-hour interview with Jun Lozada in his La Salle sanctuary, I asked him how the Fely Aquino-Arroyo meeting materialized. According to Lozada, he never asked for the meeting. He said that Abaya called him that day to urge him to proceed to Fely Aquino-Arroyo’s house in Dasmarinas Village to listen to what she has to say about the ZTE hearings.

We wondered how a supposed brilliant lawyer like Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile (JPE) could not see the lies being peddled by the incredible seven not-so-wise men of GMA. He insisted on pressing Lozada to identify each and every lie made by the seven not-so-wise men. Exposing the promoters of the big lie would have been a breeze after seeing how they have been stumbling over each other like the 3 Stooges and the Marx Brothers.

Now that the attempt to cover up the Lozada kidnapping has failed, expect the regime to employ diversionary tactics. New issues will be manufactured to divert public attention elsewhere.
Perhaps there’ll be renewed bloody fighting in Mindanao or with the Communists. Maybe big bombs will detonate here and there — who knows what is in the planning board?

Glorietta II was bombed (I subscribe to the Ayala version and not the PNP manure blast theory) when the ZTE contract became a hot potato. Who knows, maybe two malls will be bombed this time.

Even the sudden revival of Cha-cha (Charter change) reeks of an attempt to shift the public focus to a new political arena.

  Previous Columns:

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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