THEY ALL came from the same University and had chosen government service as a career. But their allegiances seemingly represent today’s political schism pitting the good, the evil, and the lesser evil against each other.

Four UST alumni have been cast into the political limelight amid the investigation into the NBN-ZTE scandal.

Key witness Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada, Jr. is at the receiving end of tirades from fellow Thomasians in public service, namely deputy palace spokesman Anthony Rolando Golez, Environment Sec. Lito Atienza, and Justice Sec. Raul Gonzalez.

The three have taken turns in discrediting Lozada, who claims the government’s aborted National Broadband Network deal with China’s ZTE Corp. to be financed by a $329 million loan from Beijing was overpriced by $ 130 million to allow kickbacks.

Lozada, a 1984 UST engineering graduate, told the Senate hearing last February 8 that he was abducted by four men at the airport upon arriving from Hong Kong and that Atienza had knowledge of the Palace’s alleged attempt to hide Lozada. Atienza was Lozada’s boss when the latter was still head of the Philippine Forest Corp.

Golez rushed to the defense of the palace, saying the government had nothing to do with Lozada’s alleged abduction and that he was only being secured by the Philippine National Police.

Golez also said the Palace did not prepare an affidavit for Lozada to clear the President of any involvement in the NBN-ZTE anomaly.

“I cannot believe Lozada started lying from the start. I am afraid for him,” said Golez, a 2000 Medicine and Surgery graduate. “He made it appear the Office of the President prepared that affidavit—it is a big lie.”

Expanding the frontiers of biotechnology

Atienza, a former Manila mayor, branded Lozada’s allegations of a cover-up and a kidnap as “half-truths and half-lies.”

“I feel really violated. These are serious allegations, which must be corrected… He came to me for help and now he calls all of these as machinations to force him not to appear at the Senate?” Atienza, a 1961 Architecture undergraduate asked in the February 10 issue of the Philippine Star. “Mabuti pa hindi ko na lang siya tinulungan.”

During the Senate hearing, Lozada said Atienza called him while he was “abducted” in a van.

“Tinawagan po ako nun ni Secretary Atienza. Sabi nya, ‘Relax ka lang Jun, mga tao natin yan,’” Lozada said.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Gonzalez said he will summon only Lozada to explain in a probe and not First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, who has also been dragged into the broadband mess.

“He (Lozada) is dramatis personae in this whole thing,” Gonzalez, a 1955 Civil Law alumnus, told ABS-CBN when asked if Lozada will be invited to testify in the Justice department inquiry.

Lozada, an information technology expert, was enmeshed in the ZTE deal after being tapped by Commission on Higher Education chairman Romulo Neri as project consultant when the latter was still director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority.


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