23 September 2009
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues of this august chamber:
With your indulgence, I rise again on a matter of personal and collective privilege in defense of the name and honor of President Joseph Estrada.
I thank you Mr. President, for the privilege speech you delivered yesterday in defense of President Estrada.
I take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation and admiration for his gracious and gallant defense of President Estrada.
Mr. President, yesterday, we heard fiction part two. This was supposed to be the sequel to last Monday’s fiction part one.
Mr. President, Mr. Lacson once again treated us to another round of tall-tale stories filled with blind items without naming names not unlike the ones we find in gossip columns. Mr. Lacson has proven himself again as a prolific scriptwriter.
President Estrada maybe a FAMAS hall of fame as five-time best actor. Mr. Lacson however has now earned the reputation as the best writer of crime stories where he excels best.
I assure you Mr. President and our people that my speech this afternoon will not be scripted.
Mr. President, the three mini stories in the privilege speech of Mr. Lacson appear to be make-believe conversations that he says were taken from telephone conversations.
Assuming that such a conversation really happened, Mr. Lacson, without saying so, must have illegally obtained these thru wire-tapping. These are the stuff that only a diabolical mind such as Mr. Lacson can be capable of doing.
In his story, Mr. Lacson does not identify the personalities concerned. He does not tell us who the incumbent cabinet secretary is or was.
If I am the one being alluded to in these stories about jueteng payola, I deny these accusations. I also remind Mr. Lacson that I have been charged, tried and acquitted of the charges of involvement in jueteng which he is now peddling in his scripts.
The evidence against me was so weak that I was allowed to post bail while the case was being tried even if I was charged with the non-bailable crime of plunder
Mr. President, Malacañang must now be enjoying this spectacle of two members of the opposition trading charges and accusations in the sacred halls of this august chamber.
This is a conflict however, Mr. President, between a member of the genuine opposition and what is now appearing to be a pseudo-oppositionist, an administration sponsored opposition.
If Mr. Lacson claims that he continues to be part of the opposition, why then does he, in his own privilege speech, openly proclaim and even brag that he has access to conversations in Malacañang which he described in detail.
Mr. President, Mr. Lacson used the better half of his speech in denying his involvement in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case. He has to resort to this to divert attention on his culpability.
Mr. Lacson conveniently forgets that Mr. Cesar Mancao positively identified Mr. Lacson as being involved in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case. In his testimony of the hearing of September 10, 2009, Mr. Mancao said, and I quote from the transcript on page 32:
Question: in your testimony that the incident inside the car, you said based on page 29 of the transcript of stenographic notes dated September 3, 2009, you said “ I have personally overheard Lacson talking to Aquino about the operation and another operation, “ Do you confirm this?
Mancao: Yes sir
Q: So there was actually two (2) operations, Mr. Witness, is that correct?
Mancao: Yes sir
Q: So would you agree with me that initially the operation which General Lacson was principally involved in was the operation regarding Berroya, is that correct?
Mancao: Initially, yes sir
Q: And then later on, you allegedly heard him saying, “Pagsabayin nyo na” is that correct?
Mancao: Yes sir
Q: That’s why? According to you he is also involved in the Delta operation, correct?
Mancao: Yes sir
Mr. President, the letters of Mr. Bubby Dacer to former Gen. Jose Almonte dated July 27, 1999 and to President Estrada dated October 8, 1999 are quite revealing.
In Mr. Dacer’s July 27 letter to Gen. Almonte, he complained and identified the then general Lacson as the one spreading lies to implicate Mr. Dacer to alleged destabilization plots against the Estrada administration.
I quote the following pertinent letter of Mr. Dacer: “it was no less than General Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson who concocted and spread these lies…”
In Mr. Dacer’s letter to President Estrada dated October 8, 1999, he said in strongly worded terms that he is opposed to the appointment of General Lacson as chief of the Philippine National Police.
The pertinent portion of Mr. Dacer’s letter expressed concern on Gen. Lacson’s appointment as Chief of PNP, which I quote:
“I, too, have direct experience with Gen. Lacson’s willingness to use any means, including foul, to advance his interests. I set great faith in your excellency’s wisdom and ability to defeat threats against our civil society. But I, too, realize that having to control the potential damage Gen. Lacson is capable of sowing could divert much-needed attention from other pressing matters of the state. Alang-alang po sa inyong kabutihan, Mr. President, at sa kabutihan ng buong sambayanan, I vehemently oppose Gen. Lacson for the Chief PNP post.” End of quote.
Mr. President, it is also important to cite here the testimony of ms. Sabina Dacer Reyes, the daughter of Mr. Bubby Dacer who said in the hearing of July 11, 2008 of the case of people of the Philippines versus P/Supt Michael Ray Aquino et. al.
On page. 57 of the transcript, Ms. Dacer-Reyes said responding to a question from the court that, and I quote:
“I remembered as I said I had flashbacks in my mind and I was scared and I remembered in two or more of our Sunday brunches with my dad in his house he would tell us, “if anything happens to me mga anak, walang ibang may kagagawan kungdi si Ping Lacson.”
Mr. President, all these point the motive that Mr. Lacson had to eliminate Mr. Bubby Dacer. And for all intents and purposes, he has the instrument and the capability to do this deed.
All these Mr. President indicate the culpability of Mr. Lacson which he is now extricating himself and implicating President Estrada to draw attention away from him.
Mr. President, in Mr. Lacson’s own words, he said that he was supporting the families of his former subordinates.
Si Ginoong Lacson ang nagsabi na tuloy-tuloy daw ang pagtulong niya hanggang pinauwi sa Pilipinas si Cesar Mancao at Glen Dumlao.
Ginoong pangulo, sino ba ang nagpapunta sa ibang bansa kay Michael Ray Aquino, Cezar Mancao at Glenn Dumlao. Umalis sila ng Pilipinas ng hindi nagpapa-alam dahil sila ay sinabihan ni Ginoong Lacson na umalis na lamang ng pilipinas.
Mr. Lacson was the one who asked his subordinates to flee and did not inform President Estrada that they were leaving the country. Mr. Lacson was the only one who knew that they left for abroad because Mr. Lacson asked them to.
Perhaps, he did not just ask them to go; he ordered them to leave.
Kaya natural lamang na hindi sila mabigyan ng tulong o ng kahit singkong duling ng pangulong Estrada dahil hindi niya alam na umalis sila ng bansa.
Kaya kung totoong may kinalaman ang Pangulong Estrada sa mga kasalanang ibinibintang laban sa kanila, hindi ba natural lamang na suportahan din sila sa kanilang pag-alis at bigyan sila ng hindi lamang singkong duling kungdi ng libo-libong banlag?
Mr. President, why did Mr. Lacson take this alternative instead of letting them stay here and answer the charges against them?
Mr. President, when president Estrada was unconstitutionally removed as president, he chose to stay in the Philippines to answer the charges made against him.
Why did Mr. Lacson asked his three subordinates instead to leave the country? Is it because he knew that he would be implicated?
Mr. President, Mr. Lacson also cites what he calls the curious case of Mr. Edgar Bentain. He says in his privilege speech that sometime in the middle of January 1999, Mr. Bentain was abducted in Roxas blvd. and killed somewhere in Laguna.
Ginoong pangulo, paano nalaman ni Ginoong Lacson na si Mr. Bentain ay dinampot sa Roxas Blvd? At paano din nalaman ni Mr. Lacson ay pinatay sa Laguna?
Mr. President, up to now, the remains of Mr. Bentain, if he indeed was killed, has not yet been found. And yesterday, Mr. Lacson categorically made the positive declaration that Mr. Bentain was abducted somewhere in Roxas Blvd and killed somewhere in Laguna.
Before Mr. Lacson delivered his speech yesterday, Mr. Bentain is listed officially as a missing person.
It was only after Mr. Lacson’s speech that the whole nation came to know that Mr. Bentain was abducted somewhere in Roxas Blvd. and killed somewhere in Laguna.
In that same speech, Mr. Lacson likewise stated a police officer still active at that time, allegedly went and reported to Polk St. in Greenhills that “mission had been accomplished.”
Alam pala ni Ginoong Lacson kung sino ang may kinalaman sa sinasabi niyang pagdukot at pagpaslang kay Mr. Bentain, at kung totoo iyan ay kilala niya ang police officer na ito. Nguni’t ano ang ginawa niya?
In his speech, Mr. Lacson said that he had been a law enforcer who upheld the law and fulfilled his oath. Why did he not take action against this police officer?
Mr. Lacson now has the moral obligation to reveal who this police officer is not only for the benefit of the Bentain family, but for the sake of justice for the Filipino nation.
Ginoong pangulo, noong panahong iyon, si Mr. Lacson ang chief ng PAOCTF. Bakit hindi niya pina-imbestigahan? Ang primary mission ng PAOCTF ay sugpuin ang kidnapping. Bakit alam na pala niya na sa Laguna pinatay si Mr. Bentain, bakit ngayon lamang siya nagsasalita?
And with this information, what did he do? What did Mr. Lacson do about the case when he was appointed chief of PNP in November 1999?
Mr. President, President Estrada was elected in 1998 with the highest majority in the history of presidential elections in our country.
He did not have to commit election fraud nor intimidate voters. He won that election fair and square.
Mr. President, what motive would President Estrada have to order the killing of Mr. Bentain in 1999, if he indeed was killed as Mr. Lacson now tells us?
President Estrada won overwhelmingly despite of that propaganda against him.
Mr. President, there is no reason therefore for President Estrada to have Mr. Bentain killed. What motive would President Estrada have to order the abduction and killing of Mr. Bentain six months into his presidency?
Mr. President, I have other questions begging for answers.
Who ordered the killing of Capt Jimmy Victorino of the Western Police District? I invite you to listen to the declaration of Mr. Francisco Kit Mateo (pause).
Mr. Mateo died of cancer a few weeks after his confession. He was a member of the defunct Metropolitan Police Intelligence Service and served directly under then Lieutetant Panfilo Lacson as a confidential informant.
Mr. President, I also asked what really happened to a 20-year-old girl and an 8-year-old child, both relatives of the late leader of the Red Scorpion Group, Joey de Leon?
And what about the findings of the Senate Committee on Public Order in this very chamber chaired by the late Sen. Raul Roco in its investigation of the Kuratong-Baleleng rub-out case?
Mr. President, the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights, on Crimes National Defense and Security of the 9th Congress chaired by the late Sen. Raul Roco, former Senate President Ernesto Maceda and former senator Orlando Mercado, respectively, recommended that appropriate charges of murder, or homicide be filed against Gen. Panfilo Lacson and his co-accused. The committee report, which was signed by 12 senators who were members of these committee, stated, and I quote:
“it is bad enough to disregard the right that no man shall deprived of life, without due process. It is a cynical abuse of law to manipulate the investigative powers within the PBP to result in a cover-up instead of a revelation.” (end of quote.)
Let our people be the judge.
Mr. President, Mr. Lacson is now using the memory of Mr. Bentain to once again smear President Estrada. Unfortunately, he does not offer solid evidence in trying to connect President Estrada to the disappearance of Mr. Bentain. It is for this reason that I now recall the Kuratong Baleleng and other cases because there are solid statements, investigations and recommendations.
However, the family of Mr. Bentain was very disappointed because they did not find the truth in this forum.
They were led into believing by Mr. Lacson that they would finally find the truth in his speech.
But Mr. Lacson did not deliver and instead used this chamber as a platform to malign president Estrada.
Mr. President, Mr. Lacson has abused his privilege enough. He has used and abused the hospitality of this chamber in pursuing his own selfish and self-serving agenda.
If Mr. Lacson really wants justice, the proper forum for Mr. Lacson is to go to court to set the wheels of justice in motion. He should now stop using the hallowed halls of this august body as his venue to besmirch the reputation of President Estrada.
Mr. President, I beg the indulgence of my colleagues for rising again.
While I have the duty to defend the good name and honor of President Estrada and my family, it is likewise my duty to heed the wise counsel of our esteemed Senate President, the honorable Juan Ponce Enrile, that while the session floor of this chamber offers us the extraordinary privilege of parliamentary immunity, that privilege carries the equally extraordinary duty for us to wield and exercise it with a sense of responsibility.
Mr. President, President Joseph Estrada and myself have nothing to hide. Our family has been demonized, pilloried and maligned by people who have their own agenda and own vested interests to pursue and protect.
As no less than our Senate President has said, we are not perfect, we may have our flaws, but certainly we are not criminals, and much less killers.
After being accused in national television, I believe the most basic and decent thing to do Mr. President, is for Mr. Lacson to file the necessary charges in the proper court not only to give the accused the opportunity to defend himself, but more importantly to render justice to everyone.
Mr. President, I have said my piece and let this be my last privilege speech on the matter.
Thank you and good day.