NBI ordered to explain alleged raid

MANILA — JUSTICE Secretary Raul Gonzalez yesterday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to explain within 24 hours the alleged raid on the office of ZTE star witness Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. at the Philippine Forest Corp.(PFC) in Taguig.

Gonzalez, in a memorandum, asked NBI Director Nestor Mantaring to clarify media reports accusing the agency of raiding Lozada’s office without proper coordination, and by force.

Lozada quit his post as president of PhilForest shortly after returning from Hong Kong to appear before the Senate to reveal his knowledge about the bribery issued surrounding the $329.5-million ZTE broadband deal.

Mantaring, however, denied the saying that the agency coordinated with PFC OIC Erwin Santos on some documents.

“I would like to correct the impression that there was a raid. There was none. An agent went there to get some documents,” Mantaring said.

He did not mention whether the documents have something to do with Senator Miriam Santiago’s claim that Lozada entered into questionable transactions during term as PFC head.

“While the NBI, under Department Order No. 73 dated February 11, 2008, is tasked to render appropriate resource and groundwork assistance to the panel that will investigate the personalities who may be liable for violations of the procurement and anti-graft laws in connection with the national broadband network/ZTE project, it is expected at all times to discharge its functions in accordance with law taking care that its mandate be not exercised in a manner that would fan partisanship,” Gonzalez said.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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