Saturday, September 29, 2012

Intelligence Chief, Witness to Senate: Why Pick On Us?

August 20, 2001, Inquirer, Intelligence chief, witness to Senate: Why pick on us?, by Carlito Pablo, Inquirer News Service, Posted: 0:03 AM (Manila Time)

Serious charges

COL. Victor Corpus, the high-profile military intelligence chief, appealed Sunday to senators to focus their investigation on the serious charges he had brought up against Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Angelo "Ador" Mawanay, an alleged ex-civilian agent who is corroborating Corpus’ allegations against Lacson, also asked the senators to reconsider their decision to detain him.

During a Senate hearing on Friday, senators subjected Corpus to intense interrogation regarding his insinuations that certain lawmakers, judges, newsmen and religious leaders were as corrupt as Lacson.

For his part, Mawanay was ordered detained at the office of the Senate sergeant-at-arms until he could substantiate his allegation that Senate Minority Leader Loren Legarda had purchased from him 1,000 units of smuggled cell phones for 8.9 million pesos sometime in 1998.

"I appeal to our distinguished senators to concentrate on the central issue at hand: That there is a drug lord among them and he is no other than Ping Lacson," Corpus, chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told the INQUIRER over the telephone.

"I am not the criminal they should investigate," said Corpus, who has publicly accused Lacson of smuggling, drug trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping and killing suspected criminals.

In the course of his testimony, however, Corpus was put on the spot when senators asked him to name the senators, congressmen, judges, and newsmen that he claimed were in cahoots with Lacson.

This way, according to the senators, the integrity of the Senate, House of Representatives, judiciary and media would not be tarnished with such sweeping statements.

Corpus told the INQUIRER Sunday that he would name names only in a Senate executive session.

"We have files on these persons but we cannot go public because it will jeopardize ongoing investigations," he said.

For his part, Mawanay’s lawyer said his client had written "a letter of protest with a prayer of reconsideration" to the Senate leadership regarding his "unconstitutional" detention.

"What is the business of the Senate? Is it to legislate or imprison people?" lawyer Argee Guevarra told the INQUIRER in a phone interview.

Sen. Robert Barbers, who chaired the committee hearing, ordered Mawanay held in the Senate building until he produced his charges against Legarda.

In his testimony, Mawanay said that floodwaters had destroyed the documents substantiating the transaction.

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