Philippines: A Tale of Corruption and Bribery

For a backgrounder on the issue, read this: Corruption scandal reaches presidential palace.

A new witness who recently testified in the senate confirmed earlier allegations of bribe and corruption involving the botched national broadband network project between the Philippine government and ZTE Corporation from China.

The ongoing senate probe concerns two things: the crime of corruption and the attempt by agents of the Executive branch to hide the truth by abducting the witness.

The witness, Jun Lozada, named a high ranking elections officer as the broker of the overpriced deal. He also implicated the First Gentleman in the controversy.

The explosive testimony of Mr. Lozada has revived efforts to unseat President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The opposition is again calling for the resignation of the president. Street protests are gaining momentum. More and more people are expressing their disgust against corruption in government.

New Philippine Revolution lists the summary of Lozada’s testimony in the senate. De La Salle University releases a chronology of events on how the prestigious institution got entangled in the issue. The Daily PCIJ uploads the testimonies of government officials who denied that they tried to prevent the witness from testifying in Congress.

baratillo @ cubao links to a site where videos and pictures of the broad anti-Arroyo rally can be viewed. MlQ3 uploads pictures of the senate hearing aside from providing incisive commentaries on the issue. blog @ and offer an initial round-up of bloggers’ reactions on Jun Lozada.

Akomismo is a high school teacher who suspends his lesson plan to talk about Lozada:

“Lozada, to me, represents the fate of our good and honest public servants. My students ask me whether there are good men and women in government and I would always say, “Yes, there are.” I recognize that there are many young, idealistic and worthy public servants. There are a lot who try to break new ground and make a difference. However, the Damocles sword of political favoritism and patronage remain. This is the political reality that compels the up and coming to leave the public service in the same way that economic realities compel a lot of us to leave the country for greener pastures. Yet in the end, these servants face the choice of being either a Neri or a Lozada. Will they hide in the darkness of truth or will they bring the truth to light? How about you?”

An Apple a Day echoes the feelings of many people:

“We've been through this countless of times already, but no one really sees the end of it. Why? Because no one really gets imprisoned from these things. The trials just go on and on until the public forgets about it… until the next drama special.”

Challenges and Movements wonders why protests are peaking every month of February:

“The month of February is a month of protests. I do not know what is it in February that makes this month special when it comes to protests aside from celebrating Valentines Day, but this month seems always a month wherein protest actions have been successful in booting tyrant president’s out from the palace.”

An OFW Living in HK encourages the people to join protest actions:

“If you are against corruption and you believe that Gloria's administration is corrupt, then the simple answer is Yes, go and support the protest actions. If you think that there will be not enough bodies to make a significant protest, then help increase the number by bringing yourself. If you think that 2010 is near and there's no need to dump Gloria Arroyo now, just go ahead and join the protests to make your sentiment known. It's as simple and easy as that. Just go!”

Congressman Ruffy Biazon argues why Congress must issue a statement against the “kidnapping “of Lozada:

“If the people will see that their House of Representatives will stand up for the rights of Mr. Lozada, it will surely give them hope that if ever the strong arm of government comes crashing down on them, they have an institution that they can rely on. An institution that upholds the people’s interests far above its own, an institution that has a will, conviction and principles of its own, an institution that will not hesitate to defend what is right and condemn what is wrong.”

dantonremoto2010 describes the government as a “rotten fruit”:

“Rotten fruit. This is the way this administration is going. Remember Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo? Ibarra came back to afflict everybody with corruption, so that like an over-ripe fruit, the system would just fall to the ground from the weight of its own corruption. With a loud thud. That is the way this government is going.”

The powerful Makati Business Club salutes the whistleblower:

“If he had been a lesser person, he could have continued to acquiesce and cower in the dark. But having come into the light, he has become a credible witness to the truth. Now that he is being unjustly maligned by government officials and by senators identified with the Administration in their continuing effort to suppress the truth, we express our support for Mr. Lozada”

Underside praises Lozada:

“He is flawed and he is in no way perfect but the most commendable thing about him is that he had to guts to admit his faults. Have you ever heard a word of apology from the crooks and professional politicians? Have they ever admitted their boo-boos? No, of course not.”

Like a rolling store mentions the two crimes committed by the government:

“I’ve talked to some friends and they are saying that the cover up is somehow worse than the actual crime of corruption. Why? Because the ZTE deal has been canceled and that sort of mitigates its ill effects. But the cover up, that one is still ongoing and is still claiming victims like Lozada. The cover up continues to insult our collective intelligence as a people. Whichever you may find worse, the original crime or the cover up, there is no doubt that someone must be made accountable. Heads must roll, so they say. It won’t happen out of the government’s own volition. We have to make it happen.”

The Marocharim Experiment is demanding more evidence:

“Something smells fishy. For one, Jun Lozada’s version of “the truth” has yet to be backed up by hard, solid evidence. For two, Senators are grilling Lozada like bad barbecue for hours on end. For three, no government official has yet to stand to say, “Hey, we’re going after the wrong man.” Had I been the chairman of the Senate committee hearing out the NBN-ZTE fiasco, I would have let Lozada go right now and sent a subpoena to First Gentleman Mike Arroyo the very next day. Then I’d send for the President herself.”

Out of my Mind has a message for the opposition:

“Let me get this clear: This administration is hopelessly corrupt beyond redemption and the sooner we get rid of these people, the better. But it’s not just these people. And removing this administration, and mainly by embarrassing and ridiculing it—which, also harms business and ourselves—should not be the only goal. A major reason why this administration is still in power is because most think that the people who are itching to replace this administration are doing so mainly for personal political gain. That may not be entirely true, but that’s the message people are getting. A taxi driver I talked to said it well: Better the thief that has been unmasked and has seemingly no pretensions of being moral than the people who claim to be imbued with stronger moral fiber.”

Phoenix Eyrie believes the anti-Arroyo forces are leading the people to the wrong direction:

“Everyone’s getting caught up in the moment; Government is corrupt! Geezus, like we all didn’t know that already? Somebody’s being taken for a ride here. I just hope the Republic doesn’t suffer because the people got brought to the wrong directions. Again.”

Journalist RG Cruz quotes presidential daughter Luli Arroyo:

“So many times, the people who actually make money from whatever deals do so using my father’s name even though he is not at all involved, and then when they get caught, they point an accusing finger at him while pocketing the money they made. Why do people want to destroy my mother? Because she has tried very hard to take out the institutionalized corruption, so the way they fight back is to try to destroy my family’s reputation.”

Geronimo Nadal is not a fan of an anti-Arroyo civil society group:

“You know them. They are “pushy”, self-righteous and “feel morally superior” above all other Filipinos. If you are with them, you feel that they consider themselves as God’s gift to the Filipino nation and that they seem to have all the answers to the burning issues of the times. You can immediately sense that they truly believe that if you are not with them, you are against them and therefore you are either corrupt, a coward, or less a person.”

Edicio dela Torre uploads an article allegedly written by Jun Lozada. Pinoypress uploads another article by the star witness who explains why a member of Arroyo’s Cabinet has refused to reveal all details of corruption in government. Notes of Marichu C. Lambino weighs the credibility of Lozada’s testimony. Swikey and Joni’s world believe in the sincerity of the witness. M.O.B reacts to how the senate hearing was conducted.


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