JOKER: RAPS VS NOLI A JOKE

MANILA,  April 28, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Jose Rodel Clapano  - Sen. Joker Arroyo said yesterday that the Bagong Lahing Pilipino Development Foundation is bogus and the disqualification case it has filed against vice presidential candidate Sen. Noli "Kabayan" de Castro is a joke.

Citing records at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arroyo said that the foundation, formerly known as the East Pacific AAA Foundation Inc., was "a bogus foundation with a sordid past and with an impostor for its chairman/president."

He disclosed that investigation at the SEC showed that Alvin Almirante, whose real name is Alvincent Goos Bersales, founding chairman of the East Pacific AAA Foundation, even claimed that he is the real Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, the only son of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

"How can the Commission on Elections (Comelec) entertain a complaint from a foundation whose chairman and president claims he is the real Bongbong Marcos and that he is the key to the Marcos millions?" Arroyo asked.

According to Arroyo, the Bagong Lahing Pilipino Development Foundation claimed that it succeeded East Pacific when the latter’s certificate of registration was unanimously revoked by the entire board of the SEC on Oct. 14, 2002.

This was after Almirante’s former associates Rose Marie Go and Renato Llamado submitted affidavits to the SEC linking Almirante and the foundation to "fraudulent activities."

Go stated in her affidavit that she was made to forge documents by Almirante such as fake financial statements which were submitted to the SEC. Llamado, for his part, said that Almirante has been inviting people to join the organization with a promise of P500,000 if they avail of the respondent’s card, Arroyo said.

"Considering further that there is no money to expect from the respondents, the obvious and reasonable conclusion one would have is that the people who joined the respondent’s foundation have been duped or prejudiced in waiting for a piece of the pie that never was," Arroyo said, quoting the SEC investigation report.

"Thus the need to expose the cheap shot," he added.

Bagong Lahi accused De Castro the other day of violating sections 6.5 and 6.6 of RA 9006 when the senator and ABS-CBN caused the rebroadcast of a "Magandang Gabi Bayan (MGB)" episode last month. The foundation claimed that the law prohibits candidates from unfairly using mass media to promote their candidacies.

However, lawyer Jesse Andres, De Castro’s legal counsel and spokesman said yesterday that the disqualification case against the senator has no factual or legal basis.

"Even before the start of the campaign period, Kabayan (De Castro) had resigned as a broadcaster and has not appeared in any TV show as host or anchor. The alleged violations of sections 6.5 and 6.6 of RA 9006 are all contrived and fabricated," he said.

Andres pointed out the intention of the re-airing of the MGB episode was to answer the fabricated statements of Bagong Lahi against De Castro on alleged extortion.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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