BY SENATOR PANFILO LACSON: 'HUWAG MATAKOT. STOP KURAKOT

MANILA, OCTOBER 9, 2003 (MALAYA) By SEN. PANFILO LACSON  - The "Stop Ping" plot is finally in the open.

When the Supreme Court appointed Justice Romeo Callejo Sr., who in turn refused to inhibit himself as ponente, the signs were there. I knew then that I would not get a fair judgment.

The Supreme Court's flawed decision only served to confirm that it is party to a grand design to prevent me from pursuing my crusade against massive corruption for our people, and ultimately to prevent me from opposing President Arroyo's election.

Offhand, a first year law student knows too well that the SC prescription to re-raffle the case instead of merely remanding it to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 81 as originally ordered is contrary to existing court rules and procedures. It is another ploy and a trap to ensure my incarceration without due cause and due process.

This Supreme Court committed one shameful act after another. First they ruled to seek clarification from Branch 81 if the requirements for the provisional dismissal were followed. Then, without waiting for the lower court's compliance, they arrogated unto themselves what they originally told the lower court to do and violated a basic doctrine on retroactivity of a new rule when favorable to the accused. Now they rule on something not even included in the pleadings of both the prosecution and the defense.

These legal tactics employed by the Arroyo government may now have prevented me this week from delivering my Chapter 3 on Mr. Jose Miguel Arroyo as Jose Pidal, and the widespread corruption perpetrated by his cronies in tandem with some government offices, but this will not put a lid to the issue.

I will deliver the Chapter 3 in time and on my terms, not on the Arroyos' henchmen's terms. I will not allow myself to be held hostage so they can continue with their corrupt activities. I am ready to deliver it as I intend to fully expose President Arroyo's own involvement not only in Jose Pidal's activities but her own misuse of public funds.

Meanwhile, I ask our people to be patient as I hurdle the legal obstacles thrown my way to stop me in our crusade for good governance.

The crusade against corruption will not end with the Supreme Court's harassment. This is my commitment to the Filipino people.

Huwag matakot. Stop kurakot.

'Stop-Ping plot won't stop me' (MALAYA) By JOAN DAIRO

Sen. Panfilo Lacson yesterday said he would pursue his presidential candidacy despite Malacañang's efforts to shatter his credibility through the Supreme Court decision re-opening the Kuratong Baleleng multiple murder case.

Lacson said the Tuesday ruling would also not deter him from delivering the third and last chapter of his "Incredible Hulk" privileged speech series. It was supposed to have been delivered last Monday.

"The Supreme Court's flawed decision only served to confirm that it is party to a grand design to prevent me from pursuing my crusade against massive corruption, and ultimately to prevent me from opposing President Arroyo's election. "The 'Stop Ping' plot is finally in the open," Lacson said.

Malacañang again denied it had a hand in the ruling.

Lacson admitted the court decision forced him to skip the Senate session "but this will not put a lid on the (Jose Pidal) issue," he said.

"I will deliver the Chapter 3 in time and on my terms, not on the Arroyos' henchmen's terms. I will not allow myself to be held hostage so they can continue with their corrupt activities. I am ready to deliver it as I intend to fully expose President Arroyo's own involvement not only in Jose Pidal's activities but her own misuse of public funds," Lacson said.

Lito Banayo, spokesman for Lacson, said the senator would be "temporarily inaccessible" while consulting with his lawyers on what legal steps to take. Lacson has been absent since sessions resumed Monday.

Banayo also said the Malacañang-hatched "Task Force: Seventy-One: Kuratong Baleleng Political Plan" which he revealed last week is now in full swing.

The multi-agency task force is supposedly headed by Rigoberto Tiglao, presidential chief of staff, and Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus, former military intelligence chief and now head of the AFP Civil Relations Service.

It reportedly has legal, media and law enforcement components.

Banayo said that in addition to two arresting teams that have been formed to effect Lacson's arrest, a third team has been created to "hunt" the opposition senator, in the instance that Lacson goes into hiding when a warrant for his arrest is issued.

Banayo said the third team would be led by a Lacson nemesis, Chief Supt. Reynaldo Berroya.

Banayo also said a new addition to the media component that would drum up public interest in the Kuratong case is Joan Orendain, a public relations practitioner.

Senators urged Lacson to attend sessions.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said: "For the last eight years, he has availed of the remedies under our justice system ... I would suggest that he continue to do so..."

Senate minority leader Vicente Sotto III said: "I know Sen. Lacson ... would be willing to face the media or the public to explain his side ... and also to continue the exposé that he has started."

Sen. Edgardo Angara said: "Sen. Lacson should not go into hiding. The legal processes before a warrant or his arrest is issued ... could take another month. Besides, while he has been charged with a non-bailable offense, the issue of whether or not he could post bail would still be subject to a review by the presiding judge."

Angara explained that in rare instances, judges allow the accused to post bail even if the crime is non-bailable.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel said: "Hopefully he does not go into hiding. He has all the rights of the accused. If the law will be bad for him then the law will be bad for the Senate as an institution."

Fr. Robert Reyes said that if the SC decision "is just a political move to disenfranchise him (Lacson) in the next elections, it will not succeed."

Asked what he would advise Lacson, Reyes said: "Face the music and fight it in court. I hope you can prove yourself (Lacson) cleaner than Jose Pidal. If you are as dirty as Jose Pidal then both of you should share a cell in prison."

Makati Rep. Agapito "Butz" Aquino said the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino would not turn its back on Lacson.

Aquino, LDP secretary general, said Lacson remains a strong presidential contender for the United Opposition despite the Kuratong case.

Aquino expressed alarm over what he said was the deteriorating credibility of the Supreme Court.

He noted the tribunal, which is now mainly composed of Arroyo appointees, "is under an avalanche of criticisms not only because of its questionable decisions but also due to allegations of fund misuse."

"We now have a Supreme Court which seems to act like a subordinate of Malacañang and we have a Supreme Court that is at the center of criticisms due to graft and corruption. Is the Supreme Court drifting away from the side of truth and justice?" Aquino said.

A group calling itself the Citizen's Movement for Order said the ruling was meant to remove all obstacles to President Arroyo's presidential bid.

"With the Arroyo-installed justices in the Supreme Court and the people's money at their own disposal, Mrs. Arroyo and her bunch of cronies will ensure that every money-making racket will go on for the next six years," said CMO's Alain Pascua. (With Marilou Jumilia)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2003  by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE