Senate President Pro Tempore, Senate of the Philippines
15 September 2009
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues of this august chamber:
I rise today before this distinguished assembly with a heavy heart, but without much bitterness and rancor, to respond to the innuendoes and half-truths which our colleague delivered yesterday in this very hall.
I rise today, Mr. President, on a matter of personal and collective privilege in defense of the honor of President Joseph Estrada over this vicious and savage assault made by a person whom President Estrada trusted and supported without reservations.
Mr. Lacson, by his own admission, Mr. President, acknowledged that he was plucked from the obscurity of his position as provincial director in Laguna.
Sinabi ni Ginoong Lacson na hindi niya masikmura ang talamak na jueteng doon sa laguna noong siya ay provincial director. Bakit hindi siya nagbitiw ng kanyang tungkulin noong mga panahong iyon?
Si Ginoong Lacson, Ginoong Pangulo, ay hindi man lang kakilala ni Pangulong Estrada. Si Ginoong Lacson ay ipinakilala lamang ni General Reynaldo Berroya kay Pangulong Estrada.
At ito ang naging daan para mabigyan ng magandang posisyon si Ginoong Lacson sa PACC [Presidential Anti-Crime Commission] na pinamumunuan ni Pangulong Estrada na noon ay pangalawang pangulo.
It was therefore General Berroya who recruited and recommended Mr. Lacson to then Vice-President Estrada. It did not take long before Mr. Lacson betrayed Mr. Berroya.
Mr. Lacson, by his own admission, Mr. President, openly acknowledged that President Estrada's personal recommendation earned him in 1994 his first star rank, way ahead of his peers and even senior officers.
Mr. Lacson, by his own admission, acknowledged that President Estrada appointed him as chief of the Philippine National Police in 1999.
If there were indeed second thoughts over his appointment then, it was because Mr. Lacson was embroiled in the Kuratong-Baleleng controversy rub-out.
Mr. President, we heard yesterday self-serving statements from Mr. Lacson. They were a combination of gutter talk, hearsay and fishwives tales.
They were accounts as fictionalized as the state of the nation addresses of this present dispensation.
Ginoong Pangulo, bakit ngayon lang nagsasalita si Ginoong Lacson?
Bakit naghintay si Ginoong Lacson ng walong taon para magsalita?
Bakit ngayon lang siya nagbubulgar ng mga paratang na walang maliwanag na basehan maliban sa kanyang personal na mga pananaw?
Bakit ngayon lamang nagsasalita si Mr. Lacson habang papalapit na ang halalan sa darating na taon?
In all these, we ask, what are his motives? Is he now on the way to show his real color as an administration man masquerading as part of the opposition?
Was he not instrumental in dividing the opposition in the presidential elections of 2004 even if he knew very well that he will steal the votes from the front-runner, my godfather, Fernando Poe, Jr.?
As a result, this administration was allowed to continue in power.
Today, it is Mr. Lacson's true nature that is being unmasked. We see the character of a man who, without any qualms or any sense of decency, would smear the very person who helped him not only in his professional career, but in his own political ambitions.
And if Mr. Lacson was indeed so repulsed by President Estrada's policies and behavior when he was president, why did he not resign right there and then?
If Mr. Lacson was then being bypassed by dealing directly with Mr. Lacson's subordinates when President Estrada was president, why did he not take the honorable and logical course of action, which is to resign?
Was this the act and behavior of a man who now presents himself as a man of principle? Or was this a cowardly and opportunistic act?
Where was that call of conscience that Mr. Lacson so proudly proclaims and pontificates today?
Mr. President, sometime in December of last year, one of the lawyers of Senior Superintendent Cesar Mancao sought and audience with me.
In that meeting with this representation, this lawyer, Atty. Bernard Vitriolo, requested financial assistance for his client because Mr. Lacson has allegedly abandoned them.
Ang tanong ko sa abugado ni Mr. Mancao, "Bakit sa akin kayo lumalapit? Bakit hindi kay Mr. Lacson? Ang sagot sa akin ng abugado ni Cesar Mancao, and I quote, "Pinabayaan at tinabla na kami..."
This, Mr. President, is the true character of Mr. Lacson.
Matapos gamitin ang isang tao, bigla na lamang ibibitin ni Mr. Lacson sa balag ng alanganin. Iyan ang tunay na pagkatao ni Mr. Lacson.
At ngayon, si President Estrada na kumupkop at tumulong kay Mr. Lacson kung saan man siya nakarating ngayon ang kanyang kinakalaban sa hindi malamang dahilan.
Has Mr. Lacson also forgotten so easily that it was President Estrada's endorsement he sought when he ran for office as senator in 2001 and again in 2007?
Has Mr. Lacson forgotten that he even sought President Estrada's audience in my grandmother's house in 2001 to seek his support when President Estrada was allowed to visit that Christmas?
Mr. President, when President Estrada and I were detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center , I distinctly remember that Mr. Lacson together with the older brother of congressman Ronnie Zamora, Mr. Manny Zamora , visited president Estrada.
This was sometime in 2003 and he asked for the support of President Estrada for his planned candidacy for president in the presidential elections of 2004.
Mr. President, I know this for a fact because I was there and I witnessed and heard the conversation between President Estrada and Mr. Lacson.
And has Mr. Lacson forgotten that he went to Tanay where President Estrada was detained in 2007 one fine Sunday afternoon to seek his support in his campaign for reelection in 2007?
And has Mr. Lacson also forgotten that President Estrada, even if he was already incarcerated and burdened by the plunder case against him, willingly without hesitation gave his support?
Mr. President, if President Estrada is [a] devious criminal that Mr. Lacson would now portray him to be, why did Mr. Lacson go to great lengths to seek his endorsement, not once, not twice, but three times in the elections of 2001, 2004 and 2007?
Mr. President, Mr. Lacson accuses President Estrada today of so many things. And yet, for more than eight years, he remained silent, only to speak today with all the vile and venom that we now hear spewing from his mouth.
Mr. President, if president Estrada was a jueteng protector as Mr. Lacson belatedly claims now, why would President Estrada seek to legalize jueteng into Bingo Two-ball?
It is in the very records of this distinguished chamber that then-Senator Joseph Estrada's maiden privilege speech when he was elected senator in 1987 was his call to legalize jueteng.
Is this the act of a man who has benefitted from jueteng?
If ever President Estrada did not bear down on jueteng at that time, he was deeply concerned with those who depended on it for their livelihood.
Anong trabaho ang ibibigay sa kanila? Hahayaan ba natin silang pumunta sa mas masamang mga gawain?
President Estrada was concerned that those who depended on jueteng would be deprived of income and it was necessary to find an alternative for them.
The legalization of jueteng was deemed as the solution to this problem.
Mr. Lacson, according to President Estrada, was asked to go after kidnap-for-ransom gangs, carnappings and drug lords
Mr. President, Mr. Lacson also accuses President Estrada of harassing and pressuring Mr. Alfonso Yuchengco of selling his shares in the Philippine Telecommunications Investment Corporation to Metro Pacific as represented by Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan.
The legal counsel of Mr. Pangilinan yesterday denied that pressure was made upon Mr. Yuchengco to sell.
Mr. Yuchengco now claims that he was pressured into selling to corroborate Mr. Lacson's claim.
Mr. President how can we trust the word of someone who was one of the first beneficiaries of GMA [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] when RCBC floated the infamous peace bonds?
Our people, Mr. President, will soon pay the price as these bonds mature.
How can we trust the word of someone like Mr. Yuchengco who has betrayed the trust of thousands of Pacific Plan holders?
Mr. Lacson also accuses President Estrada of condoning rice smuggling in Vebu and of dressed chicken. By Mr. Lacson's admission, it was his men who were being accused of harassing shipments in the Customs area.
Mr. President, according to President Estrada, he constituted Task Force Aduana to go after all forms of smuggling. President Estrada was, however, disappointed that after 2 months, this task force was unable to deliver and apprehend big time smugglers.
President Estrada then abolished Task Force Aduana and assigned this task to PAOCTF [Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force] under Mr. Lacson. He asked Mr. Lacson to go after smuggling.
Ginoong Pangulo, ito ba ang presidente na makikipagsabwatan sa mga smugglers?
Kung ang Pangulong Estrada ay kasabwat ng mga smugglers, bakit kailangan niyang buwagin ang Task Force Aduana at ibigay ang responsibilidad sa PAOCTF sa pamumuno ni Mr. Lacson?
If President Estrada was indeed involved in smuggling, why did he not relieve PAOCTF and Mr. Lacson of the authority to act against smuggling and assigned this another unit which will be more cooperative?
Mr. President, if the then PACC and the PAOCTF which Mr. Lacson headed were successful, it was not because of Mr. Lacson alone. It is because of the dedicated and committed personnel that served these agencies.
It is not because of Mr. Lacson, but because the men and women behind these task forces were because of the collective efforts of these honorable personnel possessed with a deep sense of duty. Who is he to claim all the credit for the successes of the men under him.
Mr. President, when President Estrada assumed office, he chose respected and honorable professionals to be members of his cabinet.
These are men of honor and integrity who can guide and advise him. These are men like secretary [Jose] Titoy Pardo, Benjamin Diokno, Alberto Romualdez, Benny Laguesma, and many others.
These are people who are professionals who would have rejected any corrupt or illegal acts that President Estrada may be engaged in. And these are people who have never been involved in any corrupt acts.
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I send this warning to all presidentiables: beware of those persons with wicked predispositions.
Be wary of those who come to you and profess uncompromising allegiance and unwavering loyalty.
They may last only while convenient and compatible with their own selfish interests and self-serving agenda.
Learn the lessons from President Estrada.
Mr. President, I always thought that lying has been the hallmark and trademark of the present administration. It is however contagious and sadly, it has also now reach the walls of this chamber.
Mr. President, after all is said and done, the bottomline here is that Mr. Lacson, in desperation, is now using the Senate floor to divert attention to President Estrada and away from himself in connection with the forthcoming non-bailable double murder charge that will be filed against him in the Dacer-Corbito murder case. And to top it all, he is using his parliamentary privileges so that he can lie without being held to account to anyone.
Mr. President, the counsel of Col. Cesar Mancao, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, today issued the following statement, and which I now read and quote:
"In my honest opinion, as a lawyer, and based on the evidence so far adduced in court by my client, Cesar Mancao II, the only direct evidence with respect to the mastermind in the Dacer-Corbito double-murder case pertains to Senator Panfilo Lacson.
The evidence regarding the participation of former President Joseph E. Estrada in the said crime is at best sketchy thus far, and in my humble opinion, will not pass muster either in a court of law or before any preliminary investigation in the Department of Justice" end of quote and signed Ferdinand S. Topacio, 15 September 2009.
Ginoong Pangulo, ang masasabi ko lamang doon sa mga sinungaling: Hindi kayo lulubayan ng katotohanan, at lalong hindi kayo tatantanan ng kasinungalingan.
At kailan pa man, kami at ang aming pamilya ay hindi natatakot sa sinuman na bihasang magpatahimik sa kanyang mga kalaban.
Nalalaman ko Ginoong Lacson, na ninanais mong idawit si Pangulong Estrada sa iba pang mga bagay. Nguni't ako ay nakahandang magsiwalat ng iba pang mga katotohanan tungkol sa iyong tunay na pagkatao.
At nalalaman namin na ang katotohanan ang siyang magpapalaya sa amin.
Maraming salamat at magandang hapon sa inyong lahat!