PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Senate will now have the custody of controversial whistle-blower Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada after a Manila Trial Court granted some senators’ petition for the witness’ custody on the Senate recognizance.
This develops as Lozada pleads not guilty of the charges of perjury filed against him by former Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor during his arraignment yesterday morning before the sala of Judge Jorge Emmanuel Loredo at the Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 26.
Judge Loredo ordered the transfer from the Manila Police District (MPD) to the Senate after nine senators led by Liberal Party president Senator Mar Roxas filed a petition for Lozada’s custody on Senate recognizance.
“Wherefore, this court exercises its sound discretion and hereby orders that accused be transferred to the custody of the Philippine Senate during the pendency of his trial in this court. He shall be brought to this court whenever he or the Senate is served notice of the date of any hearing or whenever his presence is ordered by this court,” said the judge in his four-page order.
Meanwhile, the prosecution filed a motion for inhibition against the judge, because he was the same judge who dismissed the said perjury case earlier. His decision, however, was reversed on appeal.
SPO2 Pedro Flores of MPD warrant and subpoena section received the documents for the Lozada turnover to Gil Valdez, director of the Office of Sergeant-at- Arms of the Senate at around 12:05 p.m. Thursday.
Valdez said Lozada will be staying at the Medical Center Manila to complete the necessary laboratory examinations before heading for the Senate.
For his part, MPD director Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay welcomed the court’s decision. “I have to comply with that (decision). We already turned over Lozada to the Senate,” Magtibay said.
Earlier, Lozada pleaded not guilty when arraigned on perjury charges before the jampacked sala of Judge Loredo at 8:30 a.m.
Looking pale and weak when he showed up at the court room, Lozada was accompanied by Senator Mar Roxas, former Senate President Franklin Drilon, Sen. Rodolfo Biazon and Party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo and several nuns and members of church organizations.
After attending the arraignment, Lozada was brought back to MCM, where he was confined on Tuesday night. He would stay at the hospital until he recovered from his sickness. The Senate would provide him security while at the hospital.