Monday, December 13, 2010


Virginia-based lawyer Arnedo Valera believes people close to President Aquino are protecting fugitive Senator Panfilo Lacson to pay a political debt for the latter’s support in the last presidential campaign.

“They can refute what I’m saying pero nakikita ko mas mataas ang pag-coddle kay Senator Lacson,” he declared.

Valera is counsel for former police colonel Cesar Mancao, the principal witness against Lacson in the murders of public relations practitioner Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2000.

Returning recently from a Manila visit, Valera said he sensed that the President’s political allies, including some who’ve been given or about to be given sensitive positions in government, don’t want to see Lacson behind bars.

“I feel may mga political favors siya na most likely malaki ang naitulong ni Senator Lacson,” he added.

It’s no secret that Lacson campaigned for the President, he pointed out.

But just how high or how far the President’s men are willing to go to spare the Cavite lawmaker is open to question.

“Hindi yan maganda kasi napakalaki ng credibility ni President Aquino, hindi lang sa Philippines kundi sa international community and can you imagine in your first 100 days sa pagluklok mo, isyu na kaagad ng double standard of justice,” Valera asked.

“Malinaw na all they have to do is enforce the warrant,” he stressed.

“Hindi siya (President Aquino) puwedeng maghugas kamay,” Valera told this writer.

Department of Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III was quoted Dec. 9 on GMANews.TV as saying “There are some former and incumbent politicians na baka pinoprotektahan si Senator Lacson”. He did not elaborate.

NBI spokesman Cecilio Zamora was also quoted as saying, “If we arrest the senator and we’ll be able to know his protectors, the latter will also be charged.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte denied the Palace was soft on Lacson.

The President has already said he will not comment on Sen. Lacson.

Valera reiterated his call for Lacson to surrender and submit himself to the justice system, saying that if the solon feared being railroaded by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he can now expect fair treatment under the Aquino administration.

“Alam mo meron kang favors, may gratitude diyan, dapat hindi siya maging fearful under the new administration. Dapat magkaroon siya ng faith sa justice system under President Aquino kasi meron siya naitulong dun sa election ni President Aquino.

“Yung kinatatakutan niya nuong una na hindi siya mabibigyan ng tamang araw at due process, this is it, eto na yun so dapat mas malakas ang loob niya,” Valera averred.

Sen. Lacson had issued a statement that he would prefer to die than go to jail.

Valera believes the solon is buying time for his allies to win an order to reinvestigate the case, even after the Court of Appeals junked Lacson’s petition for an injunction, which paves the way for Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 18 to hear the double murder case and enforce the warrant arrest it issued against the lawmaker.

He said they were heartened by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s commitment to reject a reinvestigation, and called on Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo, who backs a reinvestigation, to back off.

“We’re not saying pagbibigyan yang debt of gratitude but this is a test of political will for the present dispensation,” Valera said.

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