PALACE SILENT ON CAMPOS SLAY LINK

Manila, April 29, 2003 -- Angelo "Ador" Mawanay's latest revelations, 
linking the presidential spouse, Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, National Bureau 
of Investigation Director Reynaldo Wycoco, lawyer Victor Padilla and Mary 
"Rosebud" Ong, appear to have placed Malacañang in a near panic.

The presidential spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, cancelled without prior notice 
the daily press briefing with Palace reporters. The NBI chief also rushed 
to Malacañang for an "urgent" meeting yesterday, following the Tribune's 
report on the former government "star witness' now linking them to the Dec. 
5, 2002 assassination of Police Supt. John Campos.

The Palace spokesman has been known to cancel press briefings abruptly 
whenever the Tribune publishes exposés deemed by Arroyo officials as 
damaging to them.

When the Tribune published the American Chamber of Commerce report on 
government corruption, Bunye promptly cancelled the press briefings. 
Officials also maintained silence.

Again, when the Tribune published a report on the Palace's move to destroy 
the credibility of an Asian Wall Street Journal editorial writer, Brett M. 
Decker, Bunye also cancelled the press briefing.


Radio commentators interviewing Bunye in their shows, are also asked by the 
Palace spokesman not to ask him questions on issue that are based on these 
reports from the Tribune.

There were no Arroyo officials who made themselves available to air their 
side of the issue. Those who were asked by the Tribune for a comment 
refused to give one.

An insider said "they (Palace officials) are again panicking over the report."

The insider, however added the last time, when Mawanay had dropped his 
bombshell on the text messages from the presidential spouse, there was also 
panic displayed and each came out with different defenses.

"This time, they are making sure the stories will jibe," the insider said.

But a source close to Mawanay also told the Tribune it will be extremely 
difficult for the Palace to simply deny his tale, as "incriminating 
evidence" of the personalities linked to the murder of Campos, may surface.

The NBI chief maintained silence in the face of a number of accusations 
leveled against him by Mawanay and former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

Calls from the Tribune received by Wycoco's staff gave the reply that he 
was busy. Follow-up calls were not answered.

Wycoco usually makes himself available to the media, specially in cases 
where allegations are hurled against him.

A check with his office revealed that Wycoco hurriedly left the NBI 
premises early afternoon yesterday to "attend a meeting in Malacañang."

Presidential Adviser on Media and Ecclesiastical Affairs Conrado "Doddie" 
Limcaoco, when approached by this paper, dismissed Mawanay's allegations 
saying," that issue does not merit a comment from me...we no longer think 
of him," he said twice.

Bunye who was supposed to conduct a press briefing at his regular schedule 
of 1 p.m. was a "no show.

Limcaoco, however, defended Bunye saying, "may be he was just tired so he 
could not face the media...yes, even if it was a Sunday (two days' ago)."

When pressed to comment on the issue, Limcaoco said, "It's not just the 
First Gentleman that's being accused there right?...But also Wycoco...so 
why don't you get reactions from him?"

Press Undersecretary Bobby Capco, whom the Tribune reporter called, also 
refused to comment on the issue, saying "I cannot comment on Mawanay's 
case, Malacañang has the right spokesman and its not me."

Mawanay linked the NBI chief, along with the presidential spouse and 
Rosebud to the murder of Campos, purportedly to frame Lacson.

For the opposition senator, however, it is now a case of the ball now being 
in the hands of Mike Arroyo, Wycoco, Padilla, and Rosebud to disprove the 
the accusations of Mawanay linking them to the assassination of the police 
superintendent.

Lacson, whom Ong immediately pointed to as the supposed brains in the 
killing of her former lover just half an hour after the murder, turned the 
tables against his accusers.

This, even as he said, that he is ready to engage a colleague in the upper 
chamber, Sen. Robert Barbers, in a full debate over a committee report that 
carried recommendations against him based on the testimonies given by Ong 
and Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp) 
chief Col. Victor Corpus, among others, on his alleged criminal activities 
in the past.

Lacson said it is now among Wycoco, Ong and self-proclaimed undercover 
agent Mawanay, to prove to the public who is telling the truth regarding 
Campos' slaying case.

"It's now between them. I don't want to get involved with them," Lacson 
told reporters in an interview.

Mawanay's latest disclosure was that the presidential spouse, his lawyer 
friend, Victor Padilla, Wycoco and Ong were involved in a plot to frame 
Lacson in the murder of Campos.

Mawanay alleged he was instructed by Mike Arroyo to manufacture an exchange 
of e-mail messages between the senator and his former aide, Senior Supt. 
Michael Ray Aquino, to make it appear that an order is being given out to 
execute Campos.

The e-mail messages spoke of an operation under the code name "Pearl of the 
Orient." Mawanay said that the fictitious oplan was unknown to anybody 
except himself, Mike Arroyo and his go-between lawyer Padilla.

The supposed exchange of e-mail took place between Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 last 
year. Campos was killed by still unidentified gunmen in an open diner in 
Parañaque City shortly before 2 a.m. of Dec. 5 and immediately thereafter, 
Ong was overheard in various radio programs naming Lacson as the allrged 
culprit.

While Mawanay's pronouncements may eventually exculpate him from the 
charges, the senator is not keen on using his statements to clear his name 
from all of the accusations hurled his way.

"I don't want to get involved with Mawanay. I'm not interested because he 
has long been discredited. So whatever he says now is between him and 
whoever he is accusing. Let's leave it at that," he said.

The opposition senator, however, said that he is out to prove Barbers, who 
is the overall chairman in the probe on his alleged criminal activities 
conducted sometime in 2001, wrong in his findings and recommendations 
against Lacson.

Barbers' committee on public order and illegal drugs, along with the blue 
ribbon and national defense and security committees, recommended to the 
Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman, further 
investigation on the alleged kidnapping and drug trafficking charges of the 
senator and make the appropriate charges before the court if evidence would 
warrant a case.

"I have long prepared for that report. I'm ready to answer all the charges 
on the floor, interpellate and assail the findings of committee report. 
I've long prepared for that.

"It's up to them when they would present it on the floor. As far as I'm 
concerned, I have prepared to assail the findings by way of a debate with 
the chairman of the committee that will present the report," he said. (Tribune)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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