WHY DID MIKE ARROYO SEND TEXT MESSAGES TO MAWANAY?

Manila, April 5, 2003 -- Denials marked the statements of all officials and 
personalities identified by then government witness, Angelo "Ador" Mawanay, 
as those who "coerced" him into framing opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson on 
charges of narco politics and money laundering in the hundreds of millions 
of dollars in manufactured bank accounts abroad.

Presidential spouse Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, whom Mawanay tagged as the 
brains behind the demolition job against the senator, denied he knew 
Mawanay, but admitted he knew lawyer Victor Padilla.

Mr. Arroyo, however, failed to explain why his number and text messages 
registered on Mawanay's cellphone, which number reporters verified last 
Thursday as Mr. Arroyo's telephone, as they called him up on the same 
number and spoke with him directly.

He called Mawanay's tale "fantastic," saying that Lacson himself had called 
him a liar.

The First Gentleman denied all the charges of Mawanay. He called him 
"crazy" and a man with a "very creative mind."

"The more you tell me about his allegations, the more it looks like he has 
been planted by Lacson, adding that he will not bring any legal action 
against Mawanay since this will only give him the credibility he seeks," 
Mr. Arroyo said.

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) chief Reynaldo Wycoco yesterday 
echoed the Palace line.

"If ever he was a stool pigeon for somebody, obviously he thinks now is the 
proper time to make a turnaround. But his problem is, nobody believes him 
because he has a big credibility problem," Wycoco said.

He also denied Mawanay's allegations he was one of three personalities who 
urged the controversial witness to implicate Lacson in a series of violent 
crimes."The only time I allowed Mawanay to set foot in the NBI was for him 
to undergo a lie-detector test. After the test I never believed him," 
Wycoco said.

Wycoco failed to explain why, after the test, he continued to support 
Mawanay during the Senate hearings, instead of dismissing him as a polluted 
witness.

Another official, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director 
General Anselmo Avenido Jr., issued a statement that covered the loopholes 
found in the First Gentleman's admission on the meeting and phone call, 
saying it was an intelligence officer of the agency who met with Mawanay to 
verify the information on the existence of a clandestine shabu laboratory 
in Quezon City.

The information was relayed to the PDEA chief by Mawanay, prompting Avenido 
to assign an officer to meet with him. It was here that Mawanay disclosed 
that he serves as a courier of the drug group, using the alias Mike 
Fuentes. Mawanay reportedly requested a cellular phone with a digital camera.

A week later, Mike Fuentes called Mr. Arroyo to inform him about the 
existence of the illegal shabu laboratory. This was quickly referred to him 
by Mike Arroyo since this concerned drugs.

He said initial action taken was taken by PDEA by validating the 
information provided by Fuentes, which failed to produce positive results.

Despite this, meetings continued between "Fuentes" and the PDEA officer. It 
was later found that Fuentes was Mawanay.

Isafp yesterday also said it is mulling over filing criminal charges 
against its former witness, for stating the Isafp forced him to implicate 
Lacson.

"He's definitely lying. Its not true that he was coerced, told what to do 
or that we prepared what he was going to sign," lawyer Pedro Herrera-Davila 
of Mawanay said in a press briefing at the Isafp compound in Camp Aguinaldo.

Davila presented to the media photocopies of Mawanay's supposed handwritten 
drafts of the earlier affidavit. "We encoded in the computer what he is 
going to sign because he prepared the drafts, that's all we provided, 
secretarial assistance," he said.

Davila said the earlier affidavit was prepared by Mawanay with the 
assistance of lawyer Arno Sanidad, who he said is the right person to prove 
Isafp did not force Mawanay into implicating Lacson in various crimes.

When asked why Isafp presented in the Senate investigation a dishonest 
witness, Davila said they were still evaluating Mawanay's credibility then. 
He said Mawanay was presented "in the spirit of transparency."

"He was a walk-in during the Senate investigation. If we waited for the 
long process of evaluating his testimony, the investigation might have been 
over," was the Isafp explanation. (Tribune)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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