Who says there’s no drama in Philippine politics? In the national broadband network (NBN) controversy, the Romulo Neri-Rodolfo Lozada Jr. saga can be considered stranger than fiction.
Neri and Lozada are friends, and both admit they are. That friendship obviously extends to the professional level, with Neri, when he was still director of the National Economic Development Authority, inviting Lozada, who was then president of the Philippine Forest Corp., to review the now controversial but aborted NBN deal.
We don’t know if Neri and Lozada planned it together, but the latter eventually testified in the Senate inquiry on the NBN deal, implicating former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos and First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. For one reason or another, Neri did not go all out like Lozada. From then on their paths diverged.
And there, the television teleseries began. With Neri sticking it out with President Arroyo and Lozada now the darling of the political opposition and Arroyo critics, the friendship is being put to the test. Both claim they are still friends despite their conflicting testimonies, but I doubt if they can continue being civil for long.
Will the Neri-Lozada saga become a tragedy or will there be a “they lived happily ever after” ending to it? Abangan…
By the way, there’s a third party to this tale in Senator Madrigal. She has threatened to expose Neri’s personal life. The insinuation is that his sexuality is questionable, but if that is true, is it something to be ashamed of?
When Madrigal ran for senator with actress Judy Ann Santos in tow, some people also raised questions about her sexuality. Is this a case of those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others? Just asking.
—Bong O. Wenceslao, February 19, 2008 (Fotos: Romulo Neri [topmost] and Rodolfo Lozada Jr. [above])