VIGAN CITY – Senate President Manny Villar today said charges may be filed against the persons behind the abduction of former environment official Rodolfo Lozada, a main witness in the Senate investigation on the $329 million ZTE-National Broadband deal, in the event government fails to explain it.
Villar said the filing of charges against the four men who took him from the airport tube, especially the ones who masterminded the abduction of the former President and CEO of Philippine Forest Corp., must be identified and brought before the courts. He added airport officials can also be found criminally liable.
Lozada was taken from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal I shortly after his arrival from Hong Kong last February 4.
“Kung wala kasi tayong gagawin sa mga bagay na ito, lalong-lalo na iyong pagdukot kay Mr. Lozada, tayo rin ang may kasalanan kung balang-araw mangyari sa atin iyan,” Villar said.
Villar added after hearing his testimony, he is convinced that Lozada’s detailed and blow by blow account of his knowledge on the government deal clarified a lot of issues, and brought to the fore unlawful acts, specially against Lozada’s rights as a citizen.
“Hindi tayo dapat pumayag diyan sa mga ganyang bagay na ang isang tao ay mawawala na lamang sa airport nang labag sa kanyang kagustuhan,” he said.
The Nacionalista Party president said he lamented the testimony of Lozada stating that government resources are being used against its enemies, including the use of facilities to intercept radio communications and text messages.
“Doon ako talaga nagagalit. These people have the audacity to brag about their capacities to listen in to what we thought are ‘secured’ communications. The right to privacy is a precious right in a democratic society and these illegal acts should not go unpunished,” he said.
Villar said now that the Senate hearing was able to establish that Lozada has been taken against his will, the “perpetrators must be identified and criminal cases may be filed.”
“We cannot afford to let these people get away from perpetrating these illegal acts. They must be punished. We must show them that we are dead-serious in protecting our rights as citizens,” Villar said.
The Senate President also said the Senate is willing to provide Lozada protective custody even after the public hearing on the ZTE-NBN deal, as long as Lozada requires it.#