‘Manny Cuevas’ called me up for ‘INC-related’ meeting, says Senator Pimentel
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Tuesday claimed receiving a call from an emissary of a certain “Manny Cuevas” allegedly requesting an “INC-related” meeting with him outside his office in the Senate.
A certain Manny Cuevas was also mentioned in a Philippine Daily Inquirer report as one of two associates, who had been allegedly calling senators to lobby for Chief Justice Renato Corona’s acquittal.
Pimentel said the call from a certain “Mac-Mac” was received by his secretary Monday, the same day the PDI article was published.
“Ang nakakatawa ngayon, may nakita akong appointment sheet. Meron daw call from Manny Cuevas for appointment. Pero nag-regrets na ako dun (What’s funny here is that I saw an appointment sheet. There’s a call from Manny Cuevas for appointment. I sent my regrets),” Pimentel said over the phone.
“Pero sabi ko kaduda-duda ito. May lobbying bang ganyan na lantaran na idadaan pa sa secretary ko? Sabi ko intriga lang ito (But I said it’s something dubious. Do you think there’s such kind of lobbying, so upfront they channelled it through my secretary? It’s just plain intrigue,” he added.
Pimentel revealed when “Mac-Mac” called his secretary, he left a contact number (09175750168).
“Sa report ng secretary ko, requesting for appointment…Manny Cuevas, personal INC-related preferably outside the Senate office. Meron bang ganyan na ilalantad? (In my secretary’s report, requesting for appointment…Manny Cuevas, personal INC-related preferably outside the Senate office. Is there such kind of disclosure?)” said the senator, apparently referring to the influential Iglesia Ni Cristo.
The PDI also reported the INC was allegedly lobbying for Corona’s acquittal.
INQUIRER.net called the cell-phone number but the person who answered the call repeatedly said that he was not “Mac-Mac.”
When first asked if he called a senator, the person on the other line said, “Ay hindi ho, (No, I didn’t).”
Asked if he was “Mac-Mac,” the male voice said, “Hindi rin (No again).”
So when asked who he was, the man said: “Sinong senator (Which senator?)”
INQUIRER.net then asked again who was the person on the other line, the man said: “College student pa ako Ma’am (I am still a college student, Ma’am).”
Pimentel said he did not know a certain Manny Cuevas and repeated that the call might just be a hoax considering that it was made after the issue was published by the PDI.
Senator Gringo Honasan, in a separate interview Monday, recalled a certain Manny Cuevas who worked for the late Fernando Poe Jr. during the 2004 campaign.
“His (Cuevas) name rings a bell,” said Honasan. “I don’t even know if he’s Manny Cuevas who worked during the campaign of the late Fernando Poe Jr.”
The name “Manny Cuevas” was also mentioned at the height of the controversy surrounding the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) when the Senate investigated the issue in 2002.
Another broadsheet reported that at the time this Cuevas was allegedly collecting “under-the-table” payments from suppliers and potential concessionaires.
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