LACSON FRAMED BY MIKE ARROYO -- MAWANAY

Manila, April 4, 2003 -- Angelo Mawanay, one of the key witnesses used by military intelligence chief Col. Victor Corpus to pin down Sen. Panfilo Lacson on drug trafficking, kidnapping and other illegal activities, yesterday said all the statements he made against Lacson were fabrications.

Mawanay testified before the Senate Blue Ribbon between July and December 2001.

"The government's accusations that Sen. Ping Lacson is involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country, and that he has acquired millions of dollars as a result therefore, which he has deposited in several bank accounts in the United States are all untrue. In fact, the government continues, to this date, to hatch plans to falsely implicate Sen. Lacson in a series of drug busts," Mawanay said in a six-page sworn statement, copies of which he distributed in a press conference at the Edsa Horizon Hotel in Mandaluyong.

Mawanay also alleged that President Arroyo's husband, Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, ordered him to hack at least eight bank accounts to make it appear that Lacson transferred funds to these accounts.

Mike Arroyo said he does not know Mawanay personally.

He added that Mawanay has no credibility and expressed surprise that some people would believe him.

"Masyadong James Bond. It's a figment of his imagination. Ador Mawanay has no credibility. I'm surprised you're even asking me for my reaction. I don't even know him," he told reporters.

He added that Mawanay was a liar and was even "kicked out" from the ISAFP because he lacked credibility.

Arroyo said he has no plans to take any legal action against Mawanay because it would only give him credibility which he does not deserve.

Mawanay said: "Any statements I had made in any forum wherein I had met, seen, and spoken to Sen. Lacson prior to August 2001, specifically, during the period 1998 to 2001, were either all under the instructions of Col. Victor Corpus, chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or done after my reading news reports involving Sen. Lacson, and which were subsequently consented to and/or abetted by Colonel Corpus."

Mawanay said his claims that he met, saw, spoke with and received instructions from Chief Supts. Michael Ray Aquino and Cesar Mancao involving illegal drugs, the murders of Pagcor employee Edgar Bentain and public relations practitioner Bubby Dacer were "pure fabrications" made upon the behest of NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco and Corpus.

Mawanay narrated that when he was taken under the protective custody of the ISAFP in July 2001, Corpus directed him to "enter" the bank accounts of Lacson and, if possible, transfer the funds in these accounts to the Central Bank.

Failing to find any Lacson account, Mawanay said he "manufactured" more than 10 bank accounts, which he told Corpus were the accounts of Lacson.

He said he turned over the fictitious data to Corpus, but cautioned the latter that these have to be certified and verified by the United States Attorney General.

"I categorically state that these purported bank accounts, as well as the supposed joint bank accounts of President Joseph Estrada and Sen. Lacson, are all fictitious and mere products of my imagination," Mawanay said.

Mawanay said that when he and Corpus appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee, the ISAFP chief warned him that if he told the truth, he (Corpus) would turn the tables on him (Mawanay) and claim that he was the source of all of the accounts.

Mawanay was removed from ISAFP custody in November 2001 and transferred to the Department of Justice's Witness Protection Program. However, he was removed from the program in December 2001.

After his removal, Mawanay said Mike Arroyo "asked me if I could hack certain bank accounts in order to make it appear that funds were transferred from one account to another. I told him that I could do that provided that I was given the necessary equipment and software."

In exchange for the job, Mawanay said Arroyo gave him money for his daily expenses.

By March 2002, Mawanay said Arroyo made him transfer funds supposedly from Lacson's accounts into eight other accounts using fabricated documents.

"Unfortunately, this project was not successful simply because I did not know if Sen. Lacson's accounts actually existed. Because this project failed, Mike Arroyo stopped giving me allowances," Mawanay said.

He said he was forced to go into hiding after two failed attempts to abduct his son in September 2002.

Mawanay said he sought refuge in Pampanga upon the instructions of Arroyo and stayed at the Residence Inn at Clark for the entire month of October 2002.

Mawanay transferred to the Cherry Blossoms Hotel in Ermita, Manila in November last year, also allegedly on orders of the President's husband.

In Manila, Mawanay said Arroyo provided him with a laptop computer and two mobile phones for a "special assignment."

The laptop computer and the two cellular phones were allegedly delivered to Mawanay by lawyer Vic Padilla, "who visited me at my hotel room almost everyday during the month of November 2002 and gave me daily allowances ranging from P5,000 to P20,000."

The special assignment, Mawanay said, was for him to hack the email accounts of Lacson and Michael Ray Aquino and a certain Chinese drug lord named Wang Ya Shi, who is supposedly known in the illegal drugs business as "Golden Dragon."

The objective of the "mission" was for Mawanay to "link Lacson and Michael Ray Aquino to Golden Dragon to make it appear that they were communicating with each other and that Senator Lacson and Michael Ray Aquino were ordering shabu from Golden Dragon."

"He told me to make it appear that Senator Lacson was giving protection to Golden Dragon to shield him from government raids and criminal prosecution," Mawanay added.

He admitted that all messages exchanged among the three personalities were his own compositions but were checked daily by Padilla.

Arroyo allegedly gave a second assignment to Mawanay, which involved the hacking of Lacson's overseas and local accounts.

In exchange for the two assignments, Mawanay said he asked Arroyo to provide him with visas for himself and his family to allow him to relocate either to the United States or to Canada.

"I knew that if I accomplished the second assignment, he (Mr. Arroyo) could very well forget all about our deal concerning the visas," he said.

Mawanay alleged Arroyo called him or sent text messages on his mobile phone more than 10 times since December 2001 until last month.

In his last text message, Arroyo allegedly invited Mawanay to meet him at the Malacañang Golf Club.

Mawanay said he did not go.

He admitted he has never met Arroyo personally, and that they communicated only by mobile phones and through Padilla.

Mawanay promised to present "soon" the fabricated email messages he composed and to bare more details about the other "special" jobs he did for Corpus, Wycoco, Arroyo and resigned Justice Secretary Hernando Perez.

Asked why he was coming out with the "truth," Mawanay said: "They are trying to silence me. Lalong nag-worsen ang situation, there are now threats from the ISAFP and the military. Threats from the group where I used to belong."

He said that when he last talked with Corpus in September 2002, the ISAFP chief told him to be "careful" but did not elaborate.

Mawanay denied that his exposé was aimed at neutralizing the effects of the Supreme court ruling reviving the Kuratong Baleleng multiple murder case against Lacson.

He said he planned to spill the beans as early as September last year but he dilly-dallied because he still had dealings with Arroyo.

As to Mawanay's claim that he received a text message from the President's husband asking him to meet him at the Malacañang Golf course, Arroyo said all he remembers is that he invited a certain "Fuentes" to meet him and Anselmo Avenido, executive director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), at the golf course after he received a text message about some information on illegal drugs. (By JP LOPEZ and JOAN DAIRO, Malaya)





Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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