Government to probe bogus lawmen

Whistleblower fears for life after 'fake arrest' attempt

Government to probe bogus lawmen
Rodolfo Lozada says Arroyo allies are out to get him reporter, Manila, Philippines

February 8, 2013

The government has ordered an investigation into an attempt by "bogus" Justice Department agents to arrest a whistleblower at the center of a multi-million dollar graft scandal.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered the probe after the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) revealed Rodolfo Lozada had sought sanctuary at one of their compounds on Thursday.

In 2008, Lozada exposed alleged irregularities in a $329.48m.= broadband deal between the government and the Chinese company ZTE Corp.

Former president Gloria Arroyo and her husband Jose Arroyo were implicated in the scandal.

The AMRSP said Lozada sought shelter after learning that armed men posing as National Bureau of Investigation agents had been to his home.

Lozada wanted to make sure that his life was not in danger because witnesses in other major cases have been murdered recently, the AMRSP said.

Last week, a suspect-turned-state witness in the killing of environmental activist Gerry Ortega in 2011, was found murdered in his prison cell.

Carmelite priest and AMRSP executive director, Marlon Lacal, said he talked with top government officials who "promised to look into the incident and to provide security for Lozada's family."

Speaking to reporters on Friday, De Lima confirmed that a group of men had visited Lozada’s residence and tried to serve an arrest warrant.

However, no such arrest order came from her department, she said.

"There is no such order. Not from anyone … And so, clearly those men were impostors," De Lima said.