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  1. Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Break silence, US urged
    Solons want brains of spy case named

    First posted 01:01am (Mla time) Oct 09, 2005
    By Philip C. Tubeza, Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Armand N. Nocum
    Inquirer News Service

    Editor's Note: Published on page A1 of the October 9, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

    THREE senior administration lawmakers urged the United States government yesterday to break its silence on the espionage case of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and immediately identify the brains so they could be charged before Philippine courts.

    Representatives Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City), Marcelino Libanan (Eastern Samar) and Monico Puentevella (Bacolod) made the call as Malacanang reiterated its fear that the spying scandal could impair the Philippines' relations with the United States.

    The case involves the alleged theft of secret FBI files dealing with the Philippines, some of which are politically damaging to President Macapagal-Arroyo.

    Former Police Supt. Michael Ray Aquino has been indicted on conspiracy charges after he and his purported accomplice, Philippine-born ex-FBI analyst Leandro Aragoncillo, were detained by US authorities for spying.

    In a joint statement, Cuenco, chair of the House committee on foreign affairs, and Libanan, vice chair of the committee on justice, said the indictment of Aquino should pave the way for the identification of their "masterminds who should likewise be charged, arrested and put behind bars'' since the alleged espionage case was part of a coup plot against Ms Arroyo.

    Cuenco said that whoever were the backers and financiers of Aquino were obviously quite close to him "for [him] to undertake illegal espionage operations in the most powerful country in the world.''

    He said US authorities should now identify the three active and former public officials to whom Aquino purportedly passed on the documents he received from Aragoncillo and provide the Philippines with a strong basis to file cases against them.

    Detained former President Joseph Estrada has admitted receiving reports from Aragoncillo but said they were not of a confidential nature.

    Opposition Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said he had also received messages from Aquino but there was nothing sensitive about them.

    Gabriel Claudio, presidential adviser on political affairs, linked the opposition to the spying activity but, like Cuenco, did not identify anyone.

    "The opposition did not even think about the implications of their actions on Philippine-American relations because of their burning desire to topple the Arroyo administration," Claudio charged.

    Critics won't be muzzled

    He said the government had no plans to muzzle criticism but these should be within legal bounds.

    "They [the opposition] have not only violated the norms of acceptable rules of political engagement in our country. They have also violated the rules of another country and one of our major allies,' Claudio said.

    "The leaders of the opposition who are linked to or accomplices of Aragoncillo and Aquino will have to answer a lot to the country for their involvement in this espionage, which is a serious case in the US," he added.

    Money trail

    Claudio also claimed that, based on feedback to Malacanang, many Filipinos feared the incident "would affect the reputation and integrity of members of the Filipino community in the US."

    Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said he was more interested in the source of the funds that may have been used in the espionage operation but pledged there would be no "witch-hunt."

    "We are more interested on where the money came from," Gonzalez told the Inquirer.

    "Sometimes, we cannot rely on the US ... they have their own interests," he said, when asked if the Philipppines could get leads from the US government to track the money trail that might lead to the supposed financiers.

    In the dark

    Gonzalez, who has ordered the National Bureau of the Investigation to follow the money trail from the Philippines that might lead to Aquino and Aragoncillo, said the government would have to do this on its own.

    "Right now we are in the dark as far as this issue is concerned. We are trying to piece the puzzle [together]," he said.

    Gonzalez on Sept. 10 sent a request to the US Embassy for details on the arrest of Aragoncillo and Aquino but has received no reply.

    Gonzalez said the admission by some opposition politicians that they had received unclassified information from Aragoncillo were not enough to pin them down.

    Looking for the linkage

    "[This] did not, per se, make them co-conspirators. But if it can be proven that the linkage between the three [recipients] in Manila and the two in the US is the constant exchange of communication and vital [information is] being transmitted, then from my view, this is related to destabilization talks," Gonzalez said.

    Libanan said the filing of cases against the local connections of Aquino and Aragoncillo was "imperative in light of the President's disclosure that the espionage case may be part of an opposition coup plot against her."

    He said it was important for local law enforcement agencies to seek additional information from the US government.

    "It is the responsibility of US authorities to divulge who these three officials are so that they will be charged here and in the US. Emphasis must be put on identifying the masterminds who put the two operatives in place and financed their illicit activities," Libanan said.

    US papers 'massaged'?

    "The US and Filipino authorities should not only check the computer trail, but also follow the money. Ten times out of ten that will tell the entire story," he added.

    Puentevella said the US government should "break its silence" on the case.

    He said US officials knew what files were stolen and should confirm if the so-called FBI documents leaked to media were among them "and if these were overblown or massaged to paint a critical picture of our government."

    'Sordid mess'

    Puentevella said: "The publication of the US reports were made in an obvious attempt to muddle the probe and rock RP-US ties. The timing of [their] publication was also questionable as it was done just when the President came back from New York to preside over the UN Security Council."

    He added: "The masterminds behind the whole sordid mess are truly evil and malevolent fiends without any regard at all for the nation's welfare, and they should be brought to justice."

    Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay said "reliable sources" from the opposition and the international community had briefed him on a plot to destabilize the Arroyo administration.

    Pichay said it was evident from the contents of the US documents published in the media that they were "intended to discredit the Arroyo administration."

    Lacson at Erap yan! walang duda.

  2. Join Date
    Mar 2005
    baka nde na dumating sa media exposure yun mga brains nyan. tingin ko pag ganyan espionage matters, covert ang reaction nila.

  3. Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Ang ingay agad ni lacson, pimentel, golez, at erap nung simula pa lang nung exposure ng kaso.

    Kala nila nasa pilipinas lang ang kaso, nung na realize nila na nasa US pala. nakow! seryoso to... yun ang tahimik na ngayon ng mga ogags.

    Nasa US pa naman ang pera ni lacson.

Break silence, US urged