MANILA, Philippines — National broadband network star witness Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. took the witness stand Friday before the Court of Appeals over the writ of amparo motion his brother filed following his alleged abduction at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport last February.And got a tongue- lashing from the presiding justice.
During his testimony, Lozada narrated his communications with Environment Secretary Lito Atienza while he was in Hong Kong and how he was taken by police at the airport upon his arrival in the Philippines last February 5.
Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo scolded Lozada for “beating around the bush” in answering questions from his lawyer Rex Fernandez.
“You have to be responsible in answering questions. This is not like any other investigating body where you can say anything you want,” Leagogo said.
Lozada apologized, saying this was his first time to testify in court.
Lozada is fearful for his life once the Senate terminates its hearing on the scam allegedly involving the $329 million telecommunications contract that was forged with China’s ZTE Corp.
“Baka matapos na ang Senate hearing sa ZTE. Yon baka i-pull out na mga Senate security so wala na talaga ako. Nakakatakot [The senate hearing on ZTE might end. After that the Senate security might be pulled out so I will be defenseless. I am afraid.],” Lozada said.
But Lozada maintained that he would not accept any protection from the police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in response to Associate Justice Regalado Maambong’s question on whether he was willing to be placed under the custody of the NBI.
“NBI? Under the DoJ [Department of Justice]? No,” Lozada said but noted that he could take exception to some government agencies like the military or the Senate.
The court set the next hearing on April 17.
Lozada’s brother Arturo had filed the writ of amparo to compel authorities to produce the NBN witness whose testimony before the Senate had renewed calls for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over allegations of corruption.