MANILA (March 22) — Like a ping pong ball being tossed to and fro from one side to the other, the war of words between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration and the group of opposition Senator Panfilo Lacson continue to detonate at every opportunity.
The latest of these outbursts is the allegation of the senator’s group accusing the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) as responsible behind the government’s attempts to link Lacson and former President Joseph Estrada to the Dacer-Corbito case.
While administration’s official continue to deny any part in the supposed affidavit of former of Senior Superintendent Cezar Mancao II, which was “leaked” to the public, lawyer Alex Avisado compared the incident as part of a big script directed by ISAFP and produced by the government.
Avisado was referring to ISAFP Chief Brigadier General Romeo Prestoza who he claims called Mancao last year and informed Lacson about it. In that call, Mancao told Lacson of the general’s promise to reinstate him with a promotion if he implicated Lacson to the abduction and killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito in 2000.
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde fired back dismissing Avisado’s allegation as mere innuendoes and are “pure and simple squid tactics.”
Remonde said that Pretoza is not a Malacanang official. “Let the evidence speak for themselves and let the accused controvert them,” he said.
But Avisado claimed the public would not be fooled by the government’s efforts to discredit Lacson who had been highly critical of the administration, especially to the president’s husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo. He also called on Dacer’s relatives not to allow themselves to be exploited by the Arroyo administration.
Meanwhile, Remonde said the protests of Lacson and the former president’s group indicate they are afraid of their own shadows and quoted a Visayan proverb, which says: “There is a Visayan saying that a thief thinks of everyone else as thieves. We have said we had nothing to do with this [affidavit being leaked]. Maybe those concerned have been politicking for so long they think of everyone else as capable of politicking.