PEREZ SHOULD TURN STATE WITNESS -- PMP

Manila, Jan. 23, 2003 - The opposition Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) has advised embattled former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez to turn state witness and bare all on the Impsa contract instead of becoming the Palace's scapegoat.

"At the rate things have developed over this issue, there are already indications that Malacaņang is all set to abandon Perez, leaving him to face the full consequences of the controversy by all himself," PMP spokesman Jesus Crispin Remulla, said in a statement.

Remulla, who also attended the hearing, said then Finance chief Alberto Romulo's body language' while being grilled by the committee members clearly indicates that Malacaņang is now distancing itself from Perez and is laying the groundwork for him to take the blame for the whole fiasco.

"He (Perez) may have been the least guilty in this transaction if the $14 million bribe report is accurate; he therefore qualifies as a candidate for the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the government," Remulla said.

"If resigned Secretary Perez wants to come out clean on this issue and not wait for the proverbial ax to fall on him, he should enter the WPP, and bare what he really knows about this whole mess," Remulla added.


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