Gaite denies P.5M used to prevent Lozada from appearing in Senate inquiry
Manila (20 February) -- Deputy Executive Secretary Manuel Gaite denied yesterday earlier reports that said the P500,000 he had given to the brother of Senate star witness Rodolfo Lozada was meant to keep him from attending the Senate investigation into the long-cancelled National Broadband Network-ZTE (NBN-ZTE) project.
Gaite said it was "unfortunate" that all his efforts to help Lozada had been "twisted by him (Lozada) or made to appear as part of a scheme to prevent him from testifying in the Senate hearing on the NBN/ZTE project."
In a statement released this morning, Gaite clarified that the money he had given to Lozada's younger brother Owe last Feb. 4, 2008 was for the elder Lozada's use during his attendance to an alleged conference in London.
"With regard to the P500,000 that I extended to him (Jun) through his brother Owe Lozada on Feb 4, the same was made upon Jun's instance, after he had texted me that it was so cold where he was (which I assumed was in London), with not even a proper winter clothing and running out of funds," Gaite's statement read.
"It is not true, as claimed by Lozada, that the money I gave him through his brother was meant to prevent him from appearing in the Senate hearing nor make him tell a lie if he appears in the hearing," it added.
Furthermore, Gaite stressed that "no government fund was used in the money that I gave to Mr. Lozada."
In ending, Gaite expressed regret at the way Lozada had "taken advantage" of his compassion and "was used to suit his story."
"With the way Jun Lozada has twisted my response to his personal appeal, deceived me about his dire circumstances, publicly and repeatedly dragged my name into a controversy I have no personal knowledge about, I regret that my act of compassion for him was taken advantage of, and was used to suit his story," Gaite said. (OPS) [top]