PING: PALACE AFTER MY JUNIOR OFFICERS

BUTUAN, AGUSAN DEL NORTE,  April 24, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Jose Rodel Clapano — Independent presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo Lacson said yesterday that Malacañang is cracking down on junior officers identified with him in an effort to push a "no election (no-el)" scenario.

At a press conference shortly before beginning his campaign sortie here, Lacson said police regional directors received a call from Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters at Camp Crame regarding the relief of Superintendent Aurelio Trampe III, a former member of the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF), which Lacson headed during the Estrada administration.

"The only reason (for the calls is) that Superintendent Trampe used to be my junior officer in PAOCTF," Lacson said. "I think they’re now doing an accounting of junior officers and those who were identified with me during my days in the PNP and the PAOCTF (and they are) being relieved."

"It is not only Trampe," Lacson added. "There are other officers. Last month... Superintendent Ranada, a brother of the one running for mayor in San Jose was relieved two weeks after he got a turnover of his post."

Lacson said Ranada was assigned to another province and, after the turnover, he was again relieved.

"The information was made late, meaning they will be given the position, but the information (arrived) once they were already (in their new posts) and their higher officers learned they were my men" and immediately relieved them, Lacson said.

"Ranada is not a former PAOCTF (agent), but he is very much identified with me," Lacson said. "This is done upon orders of Malacañang."

He reminded the PNP hierarchy that there is a Commission on Elections (Comelec) ban on the transfer of officers and assignments of police officers from the start of the campaign period to the end of the elections.

"I thought that there is a Comelec ban on (the) transfer of officers and assignments," he said.

In another development, the Comelec said yesterday Lacson may not get copies of election returns if it is proven that he belongs to the minority of the opposition Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) party.

Comelec Commissioner Resurreccion Borra said the poll body will release on Monday its list of six presidential candidates who may obtain copies of the election returns after the voting is over on May 10.

Borra said he doubts if Lacson can avail himself of copies of the election returns, since the LDP will only be given one copy of these documents.

"We have assessed all the political parties to determine who are the dominant majority and dominant minority," Borra said at the weekly Balitaan sa Rembrandt Hotel forum in Quezon City. "The LDP is entitled to only one copy and it is up to the party to share the copy."

The LDP was split into two factions after Lacson pressed his presidential bid with the backing of Makati City Rep. Agapito Aquino, while LDP president Sen. Edgardo Angara stood by his decision to back the presidential bid of actor Fernando Poe Jr.

Lacson is a member of the LDP, while Poe has no party affiliation, though he is running under the banner of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilpino (KNP).

Angara helped put the KNP together with his faction of the LDP as one of the parties comprising the opposition coalition.

Political observers said the most likely scenario is that the Comelec will recognize the KNP because the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Angara faction of the LDP. — With Perseus Echeminada<


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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