What will it take?

Silencing Lozada
Malaya Editorial

What will it take to make Gloria and Mike Arroyo more respectful of the law? Appeals to reason do not work. Neither do appeals to conscience. Possibly it is only when they are called to account that it will dawn on them that they too need the protection of the very law they now flout with impunity.

Their arrogance is breathtaking. And we are not talking about the televised execution of their long-time partner Jose de Venecia. The Arroyos had only sought to demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of the members of the House were their lapdogs. But what was the point? Everybody knew that all along.

What bears close watching are the attacks by the Arroyos on persons they cannot buy and institutions they cannot cow. The abduction of Rodolfo Lozada is a case in point. Lozada was earlier ordered arrested by the Senate for his failure to appear before the inquiry into the overpriced national broadband deal. This minor government functionary Lozada, however, sent word to senators he would be coming home to face the music. His only request was that Senate sheriffs meet him at the airport so he could turn himself in.

Armed men led by airport security chief Angel Atutubo, however, were a step ahead of the Senate sheriffs, getting hold of Lozada and taking him to places unknown.

Yesterday, PNP chief Avelino Razon said Lozada was in their custody, adding the latter had sought police protection. And yes, another PNP high official chimed in, they would produce Lozada when summoned by the Senate.

A more implausible story no one could possibly concoct.

The only threat is to Lozada’s liberty. That comes from the arrest order signed by Senate President Manny Villar. The PNP can now defy the Senate by taking into custody – protective or otherwise – the subject of the chamber’s arrest order?

And to further insult the Senate, the PNP took it upon itself to issue a guarantee that Lozada would be produced whenever he would be needed by the Senate.

That is, on the assumption that Lozada indeed sought the "protective custody" of the PNP, an assumption that flies in the face of statements of Lozada’s close relatives.

According to his relatives, Lozada was prepared to cooperate with the Senate. He was willing to name the people behind $329 million attempted raid on the treasury. He was willing to cite figures on the millions in "advances" made by the Chinese company ZTE.

In short, he was abducted to silence him. Hopefully, not permanently.

Oh Lord, two years yet is a long time for the people to suffer more. Give us the strength to resist the temptation of taking matters into our own hands. Your ways are always higher than our ways. We trust in your justice. For whatever purpose you have allowed us to suffer, let all things be according to your timing.