Truth Forum on the NBN-ZTE scandal


University of the Philippines Los Baños campus


March 18, 2008



NBN-ZTE star witness Rodolfo Jun Lozada speaks at a forum in Los Baños against a backdrop of a big SERVE THE PEOPLE streamer reminding everyone that patriotic governance is all about serving the people wholeheartedly and entirely, and not scheming to enrich oneself in office as quickly as possible.

A forum for truth, justice and change was sponsored by the University Student Council of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños,  UPLB Fight, Youth Act Now-Southern Tagalog and STOP NA!.with NBN-ZTE star witness Rodofol Jun Lozada as guest speaker.


"The Arroyo government is active in its propaganda campaign to create a mirage that the Filipino people still support her, such as her unity walks and pro-Gloria activities of several local politicians. But it is clear that various sectors are clamoring for truth and the Arroyo government's accountability over the issue of corruption it currently faces. We will be organizing more activities such as this forum with Lozada in various provinces so that more people in the region will be able to personally hear Lozada's views."
---- Bani Cambronero, STOP NA spokesperson



These students from the UPLB Rural High School listen attentively to Lozada's talk, learning things about corruption and its negative impact on the life of the nation, including their own education. Two or three high school students stood up later to ask Lozada some questions.




Southern Tagalog Organization and People's Network Against Poverty, Corruption and Repression

Youth for Accountability and Truth Now-Southern Tagalog


March 18, 2008

References: Bani Cambronero, STOP NA! spokesperson
Charisse Bañez, Youth Act Now-ST spokesperson


For the first time since he was abducted at the NAIA and brought as far as Los Baños, Laguna, Senate star witness Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada, Jr. is back in town. This time around, he hopes to freely speak about the NBN scam, the same revelations Malacanang was hell-bent on keeping secret leading to Lozada's abduction.

At Crossing, Calamba, Lozada was warmly welcomed by various sectors from Laguna who staunchly supported Lozada's fight for truth. Welcome parties were also led by students, teachers and members of the community near the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Brgy. Halang, Calamba, in front of the San Antonio church at Junction, Los Baños, and at the UPLB gate. The groups showed their support by waving flaglets, welcome streamers, and cheering for Lozada.

Lozada was the guest speaker in a forum at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños today upon the invitation of the University Student Council-UPLB (USC-UPLB). The forum, entitled "An Insider's Story: Lozada's Fight for Truth and the Nation's Search for Justice," was organized by the USC-UPLB, UPLB Fight, Youth Act Now-Southern Tagalog and STOP NA!.

The forum, which aims to gather students from various schools and multi-sectoral groups in the region, was pushed for by the USC-UPLB despite attempts of the UPLB administration to hamper the activity. Charisse Bernadine Bañez, Youth Act Now-ST spokesperson and USC-UPLB vice chairperson, said that they are ready to face the consequences the administration has threatened the USC with if they continue the forum. The UPLB administration earlier said it would only allow the forum to take place if a pro-Gloria guest would also speak during the forum. "Lozada's sacrifice is a challenge to the youth to advance our rights in the face of threats and harassment. We want to close this Academic year with this forum to show that the fight for truth and genuine change will continue and the summer vacation will only serve as a venue for the youth to consolidate and broaden its unity on the issue. In fact, a large part of schools in the region including UPLB are currently having exams or no longer have any classes, yet many students were determined to attend this."

In a video of Lozada's final talk with forum organizers, Lozada recalled his thoughts while he was being driven to Los Baños when he was abducted. He said his wish then was that his body be found if he was killed. He said that on his return to Los Baños, he will narrate the success of his survival and the hardships he has been through. He also called on the youth to have the courage to fight for what they know is right.

Meanwhile, community leaders living nearby the railroad in Los Baños said that there were also attempts by the local government to coerce them into not attending the forum. A community leader who refused to be named said that they were interested in hearing what Lozada has to say about the Southrail project since their communities will soon be demolished because of the said project.

The activity was opened with a Litany of ecumenical prayers led by Kapatirang Kristiyano para sa Katotohanan at Katarungan (4KTK). During the open forum, plain bread was shared among the audience.

Support messages from various schools in the region led by Youth Act Now-St were then handed to Lozada. The messages were collected in schools last week as a way for students who may not be able to attend the forum because of exams to express their support to Lozada and the campaign for truth and justice. "Mailboxes for truth" were put up through the student councils and publications at the Lyceum of Batangas, University of Batangas, St. Bridget College-Batangas City, PUP-Sto. Tomas, Lipa Science High School, University of the Philippines-Los Baños, Dalubhasaan ng Lungsod ng San Pablo, San Pablo Colleges, Laguna State Polytechnic University-San Pablo, University of Perpetual Help-Biñan, Pamantasan ng Cabuyao, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and Laguna College of Business and Arts.

A Truth March to the UP Oblation followed. Here, the church-led regional multisectoral alliance STOP NA gave a torch to Lozada to symbolize their continued campaign for truth which they vow to keep aflame as long as government accountability for corruption and other issues remains unheeded. A child internal refugee handed the torch to show that the hope and future of children lie on the action and genuine service to the nation of people such as the decision of Lozada to reveal the truth.

Simultaneous with the singing of "Bayan Ko," leaders of various sectors set alight their candles from Lozada's torch and lit candles in front of the Oblation spelling the word "TRUTH."

Bani Cambronero, STOP NA spokesperson said that they regard highly Lozada's quest to propagate the truth on the NBN-ZTE scandal. "The Arroyo government is active in its propaganda campaign to create a mirage that the Filipino people still support her, such as her unity walks and pro-Gloria activities of several local politicians. But it is clear that various sectors are clamoring for truth and the Arroyo government's accountability over the issues of corruption it currently faces. The fight is not yet over. We will be organizing more activities such as this forum with Lozada in various provinces so that more people in the region will be able to personally hear Lozada's views."

Cambronero said broad provincial-level multi-sectoral alliances which include church groups are also gaining ground.###

For inquiries, please contact 09194674487.

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 Lozada speaks before a huge crowd of students, teachers, members of the UPLB community, and concerned citizens from the nearby towns.

An open forum followed Lozada's talk.

The organizers wanted the forum to be held at the auditorium but the UPLB administration imposed conditions: that a pro-GMA speaker should also be invited, that there will be no banners and streamers, that there will be no sectors from outside the university. The organizers decided to hold the forum instead on the grounds of the UPLB Student Union. 

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    ◄▲The forum began with interfaith prayers followed by sharing of the bread.


    It is Holy Week. The commandment to remember this week: Thou shalt not ZTEal.


    March to the UPLB Oblation and then to Junction.

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    BAGUIO CITY (Mar. 18) – Violent dispersal by the Philippine National Police (PNP) forced around 60 youth as well as members of Tongtongan ti Umuli (TTU) away from the Mansion where a lighting rally demanding the ouster of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was held. Read more


    Lighting torches and candles for truth, justice and change.

    The participants pledged never to tire of lighting torches and candles until the truth is out and justice served.


    Which group do you belong?


    Two weeks ago, I interviewed Jun Lozada at the La Salle Greenhills, his and his family’s home for over a month now since he survived the kidnap try by Gloria Arroyo’s minions at the airport.

    I’m sharing with you excerpts of that interview. They make good reflections this Lenten season:


    Q: You downplay people’s “hero worship” of you. Are you scared?
    A:Of course, I’m scared. It’s a huge responsibility. It’s a cross to bear…. Ayaw kong maging daan or cause for other people to be sinful.


    Q: How do you deal with the hero worship?

    A:I will never allow it get to my head. Yung iba, nakikita ka sa camera, sa TV masaya na. I always remind myself, the people who was shouting “Hallelujah” when Jesus entered Jerusalem were the same people who were also. I just wanted to save my soul.


    Q: When you go on campus tour, you are welcomed like a hero,while the opposite happens to your good friend, Romy Neri, like when he went to Davao, he was booed..

    A: He is very much capable of handling that. Emotions are so fleeting. It can change.


    Q: Sen. Ping Lacson asked how to describe Gloria Arroyo and he said, “ hopeless.” When asked to describe Neri he said, “may hope”.

    (Note. Lozada nooded in agreement.)


    Q: Where is the hope coming from?

    A: I know him well enough.


    Q: In the case of Deputy Executive Secretary Manny Gaite, was it painful for you seeing him being being raked over the coals?

    A: Yes. He seems to be a good man. It pains me to see good people suspend their moral faculties just to cover up the lies of their higher authority. They are no different from the war criminals na kapag ini-imbistigahan mo,…. in moral psychology, it’s called the Lucifer effect.


    In moral psychology , it’s already proven that men and women will generally suspend their moral faculties when confronted by higher authority at close proximity. I think that is what is happening to other people. I’m very careful not to be in close proximity to the people there. Napapasin mo rin si Neri, hindi rin nagsasama sa mga visit-visit.


    Q: How has it been the past 30 days?

    A: It’s like a lifetime. Very difficult, lahat na fears mo nandiyan. The difficulty is if you decide to carry the torch of truth, or the light of truth, it will shine upon you first.


    The difficulty is masagasaan mo malalaking tao, mga kaibigan mo, madamay sa iyo. Pamilya mo. You put your family in harm’ way. Wala ng makikipagnegosyo sa yo, your future becomes uncertain.



    Your conscience bothers you. That’s the most difficult part. During that time, lahat ng consultahin mo, ang sinasabi ako pa dapat magdepensa ng posisyon (ng gobierno).


    I’ve been running away from this. Lahat na kasama ko sa gobierno, advise nila, huwag mo nang sabihin yun, wala namang mangyayari . You will just get in trouble. As one cabinet member said, “Hindi natin ibibigay ito (the government) ng walang patayan.


    Q: Is that the prevailing attitude in government?

    A: Hindi lang sa goierno. Pati yung sa religious. One member of the religious, I won’t tell you his name but he is close to a cabinet member, knew the whole story but he never encouraged me to tell the truth.

    Ang sabi lang niya, kung magescalate ang threat sa yo, sabihin mo sa akin. I can make it stop.


    Q: That means he has control over the source of the threat?
    A: Siguro.


    Q: You never imagined the impact of your testimony on the public?

    A: Never. I had a more selfish reason. Maybe, just to save my soul. I never realized that I would get to touch the country’s soul as well. Marami daw naiyak sa akin?


    I think I affected people three ways; three reactions to me:


    One, I inspired a good number of people to embrace the truth as well as to seek the truth.


    Two, disbelief. It guess the disbelief is coming from the people who, in their minds, can’t do what I did. Parang they can never believe that somebody will act and go through all the trouble without the inducement of money, of power, or influence. Ayaw maniwala. Punong-puno sa pagdududa.


    I think the disbelief was coming from their own set of values. Maybe this people, wala na talagang conscience.Hindi na nila maisip. They are completely utilitarian. They say, pakawala ako ni Lacson. These are the people who are falling into Malacanang lies.


    The third reaction is coming from those who wish to destroy me. Ito yung mga tao that would like to keep people in the dark. That they would not want the light of truth to shine upon what they are doing, where they are king. That’s where they are good at. Dahil nabubuhay sila sa dilim.


    If everyone starts saying we want to seek the truth, then they will know what’s happening in the government. Yari yung mga taong yun.

    How do people manifest these reactions? The first group are the ones joining protest rallies and attending truth forums.


    The second group are the ones saying, dalhin sa korte yan.Doon kayo magpakita ng ebidensya. To them, testimonial evdidence is not evidence. That’s why I tell them to bring out Abalos’ phone bills.


    The third group are the ones doing what (Interior Secretary Ronnie) Puno does- sham hearings, sham investigation. Huwag na natin ipa-alam sa tao.

    Now, which group do you belong?


    Oh, there’s a fourth group. Yung ayaw maki-alam. We have not met that group because wala nga silang paki-alam.




    The first art work you see when you enter the UPLB campus is this statue of a peasant and his carabao and farm implements. It is already the 21st century and you would expect something modern. Nevertheless you would immediately realize  that what you are seeing reflects the reality in the countryside -- that on the whole there is no modern agriculture.

    Feudalism is in fact one of the basic problems of the Filipino people. The low technology is explained well in the book Philippine Society and Revolution by Amado Guerrero (see
    Aklat ng Bayan list of books):.

    Feudal relations between the parasitic landlord class and the productive peasantry essentially involve the extortion of exorbitant land rent in cash or kind from the latter by the former. Such basic relations leave the tenant-peasants impoverished as their share of the crop is just enough or even often inadequate for their subsistence. The are further subjected to such feudal practices as usury, compulsory menial service and various forms of tribute. The old landlord class which utilizes land rent essentially for its private pleasures and luxury is satisfied with the backward method of agriculture because it gets more than enough for its needs from the sheer exertion of physical labor with simple agricultural implements by a big mass of tenants. On the other hand, the tenant who has only his own assigned plot to till is further impoverished by the low level of technology.




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