Ermita was lying through his teeth when he claimed that the police merely performed their duty of protecting Lozada. The only reason he was snatched is his supposed knowledge on the controversial National Broadband Network deal with China’s ZTE Corp. that has implicated the name of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and former Commission on Elections chair Benjamin Abalos Sr.
Lesson learned: Never entrust broadband projects to persons with narrow minds and wide pockets.
At the moment, it is the Senate which may take custody of Lozada, a key witness in the unfinished investigation on the nullified deal.
What the police did therefore was an unforgivable and illegal act. They took the law into their own dirty hands, obviously upon orders from people who stand to benefit from keeping Lozada away from the hold of the Senate. There is no other way to describe the incident which smacks of arrogance, contempt for decency, and brazen use of naked power for personal gains. That the abduction was directed by high-ranking police officials showed just how powerful the brains are
Poor Lozada. His only crime is his being an important witness to yet another anomalous transaction that stacked another skeleton into the cash-laden closets of highly placed wizards in the art of transactional governance. So the police, acting like the private goons that they have become, snatched him against his will and declared their hooliganism as a matter of duty. Call Guinness, quick. No other police force in the world can match the zeal of our law enforcers. And to think that they did it in full public view in an international airport.
In addition, Lozada’s family and relatives were not informed about the plan of the police to give him “protection”. His loved ones must be among the supposed threats to his life.
Given the unsavory reputation of the police, Lozada’s kin can only imagine what his kidnappers in uniform – I mean protectors – have done to him while he was being held incommunicado. And who might have called him as he walked around a secluded room “protected” by thugs paid for with taxpayers’ money. Was it a petite woman saying “I am sorry” with her inimitable accent? Or was it a rotund man with a voice made more guttural by a life-threatening operation?
Only one thing is sure: the masterminds asked no ransom.
Ironically, by kidnapping – I mean protecting – Lozada the suspects in the ZTE anomaly have unwittingly convicted themselves before the bar of public opinion. For have they not forcefully dismissed as pure lies the revelations of the son and namesake of ousted House Speaker Jose de Venecia? The whistleblower is a liar? Then why bother to move heaven and earth – and Camp Crame for that matter – to silence his witness? Lozada is an honest witness of a lying accuser?
It was not too long ago that the police lent their expertise to another blatant act of flouting the law: the illegal transfer of Daniel Smith, an American serviceman convicted of raping a Filipina in Subic, from a Philippine jail to the comforts of the US Embassy. Like in the case of Lozada, the commando-like operation was carried out sans any court order. Rape victim “Nicole” was left to seethe in her lonesome.
To paraphrase former vice president Emmanuel Pelaez, what is happening to law enforcement in this country? Convicts are set free before they even start to serve time while the innocents are whisked away in broad daylight to dark chambers where they may learn the virtue of unprincipled silence – at the point of a gun.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno received in 1987 the Jose W. Diokno Award for winning in a national editorial writing contest sponsored by Ang Pahayagang Malaya and the family of the late senator.)