February 9, 2008
After hearing today’s testimony by Jun Lozada, we wonder which is worse, the original crime or the conspiracy to cover up this crime?
Lozada provided a credible testimony on the multi-million dollar overpricing of the ZTE National Broadband Network deal. He pinpointed the high government officials and personalities close to the president who were involved in a scam to collect at least $130 million in kick backs from a government project. Lozada affirmed the involvement of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and former Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos in the anomalous deal. It also became clear that despite the anomalies tainting the deal, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo still had it approved.
What is also most disturbing is the extent government is willing to go to cover up corruption. Lozada’s testimony shows how several present and former cabinet officials, the police, the military and Malacañang, conspired to prevent him from testifying before the Senate. The government believed that it could get away with fraud, abduction, illegal detention, deception, illegal wiretapping and veiled threats against Lozada.
The Arroyo regime is rotten to the core. It commits crimes with impunity because it seriously believes it can get away with anything. It abuses its power to cover up its tracks, thinking the people are stupid enough to believe anything.
We condemn in no uncertain terms the conspiracy to cover up corruption involving DENR secretary Joselito Atienza, CHED chair Romulo Neri, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, DILG secretary Ronaldo Puno, Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye and DOTC secretary Leandro Mendoza. We likewise condemn the involvement of former secretary Mike Defensor in the cover up. We also condemn the officials of the Philippine National Police who keep insulting the intelligence of the public by peddling lies.
The crime of corruption and the brazen attempts to cover up this crime must be condemned by the people.
The calls for the resignation, impeachment and ouster of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo are justified given the recent revelations from Lozada. The fact that all these crimes are happening with the knowledge and consent of the president is basis enough for her to step down.
The people must make Arroyo and all her cohorts accountable. This is the only way out of the current political crisis. Justice cannot wait until 2010. It must come now, at the soonest possible time.