Another Witness in ZTE-NBN Deal Seeks Protection

by Joel Roja/

MANILA – Controversial witness Ador Mawanay on Monday showed up at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to seek protection for him and his family against physical threats allegedly made by Senator Panfilo Lacons if he would refuse to testify for the lawmaker in the ongoing Senate investigation into the anomalous national broadband network project with China’s ZTE Corp.

Mawanay met with Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez at the latter’s office where they discussed the supposed threats on his life.

The DOJ chief, however, is not taking Mawanay’s story hook-line-and sinker, thus, he directed him to submit a statement first so that the justice department could evaluate the authenticity of the threat.

Mawanay said Lacson first became controversial when he appeared in public to accuse Lacson of masterminding the 1999 disappearance of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) camera operator Edgar Bentain for allegedly releasing the videotape of then presidential candidate Joseph Estrada and his gambling buddy Atong Ang.

Mawanay also claimed that Senator Loren Legarda purchased P8.9-million worth of smuggled cellular phones from him, and that he delivered a shoebox filled with cash to Senator Noli de Castro in 2001.

But, Mawanay later refuted his allegations saying that he was just pressured by then Armed Forces’ Intelligence chief Gen. Victor Corpus, then National Bureau of Investigation Director Reynaldo Wycoco, to issue the accusations.

This time, Mawanay is claiming that the camp of Lacson contacted him and ordered him to testify in the ongoing ZTE hearings at the Senate or else he and his family would be harmed.

He also claimed that he came to know about the ZTE deal as he has connections who purportedly showed him the overseas bank accounts of some of the individuals alleged involved in the scam.

“I told him to file a report at the police regarding the threats made against him life, after which I advised him to submit a written statement at the DOJ, so that we can evaluate it,” the DOJ secretary added.

Gonzalez said that this is to ensure that the DOJ is not being misled by the controversial witness who has the habit making inaccurate and unproven allegations in the past.

“I am inclined to take his statements with a grain of salt,” Gonzalez added while admitting that Mawanay was referred to the DOJ by House Speaker Prospero Nograles.


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