SENATE SHOULD RECONSIDER ANTI-LACSON REPORT

Manila, April 5, 2003 -- The Senate's reconciled committee report endorsing 
the filing of criminal charges against Senator Panfilo Lacson for his 
alleged involvement in illegal drug trafficking should be reconsidered by 
the three committees that conducted the investigation.

This was suggested by Senator Lacson yesterday, adding that the chairmen of 
the Senate committees on public order and illegal drugs, blue ribbon and 
national defense and security should consider the filing of perjury charges 
against Mawanay.

Sen. Robert Barbers, chairman of the public order and illegal drugs 
committee, said he was studying the possibility of charging Mawanay with 
perjury.

Lacson said Corpus and self-proclaimed narcotics agent Mary "Rosebud" Ong 
should also be charged with perjury.

"Rosebud and Corpus are equally liable for perjury because they 
corroborated the lies spread by Mawanay. They are all liars," Lacson said.

The three corroborated each other's claims that Lacson was behind the 
proliferation of illegal drugs in the country and that he was behind the 
series of kidnapping and killing of several Filipino-Chinese nationals 
involved in the illegal drugs trade.

"It is clear now that the basis of the findings of the three Senate 
committees were all lies. They should reconsider the report," Lacson said.

He said failure of the three panels to reconsider their report would fuel 
speculations that the investigation was aimed at destroying his reputation 
and not to determine the truth.

Commenting on Mawanay's revelation that Mike Arroyo paid him to smear 
Lacson's name, the senator said he has long suspected that Malacaņang was 
behind the "lies being spread by this con artist."

"His retraction validates what I have suspected all this time," Lacson said.

Barbers said Mawanay's retraction would not change the recommendations made 
by his panel.

He said the recommendation to file criminal charges against Lacson was 
based "primarily and solely on the statements of credible witnesses other 
than Mawanay."

"We invited Mawanay because he issued statements to the media accusing Sen. 
Lacson of involvement in illegal drugs and KFR (kidnap-for-ransom) 
activities. It would be improper if we proceed with the investigation 
without summoning him, considering his then serious allegations against 
Sen. Lacson," Barbers said.

Barbers claimed the three committees that conducted the investigation 
considered Mawanay as "unreliable and without credence."

Barbers questioned the veracity of Mawanay's new claims and questioned the 
motive behind his retraction.

Noting Mawanay's own admission that he did "dirty jobs" for Mr. Arroyo in 
exchange for certain amounts of money, Barbers said "it follows that he 
will do anything or everything given the right amount. Would this also be 
the sole reason why he retracted? Who paid him then?"

Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr., chairman of the national defense and security 
committee, said: "I think we should not spend too much time on Mawanay. He 
is a fantastic storyteller, I doubt if his stories are true."

Magsaysay said he is open to a review of the joint committee report, which 
was filed with the Senate on June 3, 2002.

The Senate minority questioned the legality of the filing of the committee 
report because it was filed after the opposition became the majority, 
although only for a brief period.

The administration senators, according to the opposition, ignored Senate 
rules that all committee reports should be signed by a majority of the 
members of the committees involved.

The opposition claimed the three committees failed to muster the necessary 
number of signatures to make the committee report valid.

The opposition, which appointed Sen. Gregorio Honasan as chairman of the 
public order and illegal drugs committee, sent the report back to the 
committee level for review and revision.

To date, the joint committee report has not been officially approved by the 
Senate. (Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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