Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada Jr should be regarded as a political prisoner, human rights group Kapatid said, adding the whistleblower has done great service to the people and does not deserve to be in jail.
Kapatid said the Supreme Court’s decision finding Rodolfo and brother Orlando guilty of graft is a “travesty of justice” that sends the wrong signal to whistleblowers.
The High Court upheld Rodolfo’s graft conviction last week for leasing 6.6 hectares of idle public land to his brother Orlando and sentenced the siblings to six to 10 years of imprisonment and perpetual disqualification from public office.
Kapatid, the support group of families and friends of political prisoners, however said the Supreme Court should reverse its decision as Rodolfo deserves the protection of the law for reporting evidence of wrongdoing.
“Thanks to Jun Lozada’s courage [a] scandalous megadeal was cancelled. But because of the rotten double standard of justice in the Philippines, he is the one who will go to prison while the biggest masterminds of graft and corruption are exculpated and allowed to perpetuate themselves in public office,” Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim said.
Lim added that Rodolfo has become a victim of retaliation and persecution by powerful enemies who have in effect made him a political prisoner for speaking truth to power.
Rodolfo was former head of the Philippine Forest Corporation and a government information technology consultant when he revealed alleged anomalies in the establishment of a National Broadband Network (NBN) by the Chinese corporation ZTE in 2007 during the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government.
Lozada said President Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Miguel were “masterminds behind the NBN-ZTE crime” worth P17 billion of pesos. He also said former Commission on Election chairperson Benjamin Abalos stood to gain from kickbacks.
The Lozadas turned themselves in at the National Bureau of Investigation last Thursday after hearing the Sandiganbayan reportedly issued a warrant of arrest against them following Supreme Court’s affirmation of their conviction.
In a statement, Rodolfo said his enemies made good with their threats they will make him regret for his revelations.
“Yes, they succeeded in sending me to prison. But they will not succeed in making me regret my decision to side with the truth and the people. I do not regret my decision to side with the truth,” Rodolfo said.
“Our hearts go out to truth-tellers like Jun Lozada. Kapatid stands by him and with him in his statement that embodies the plight of the political prisoners in this country,” Kapatid said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)