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Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and former Senator Panfilo Lacson. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Thursday accused former Sen. Panfilo Lacson of being part of a “trinity of unholy conspirators” that was sowing disinformation in the pork barrel scam.

In a commencement speech at Lyceum University in Laguna province, Santiago said Lacson’s story—that he received a copy of an unsigned draft affidavit from alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles—was part of “a vast, costly and sinister disinformation operation.”

She said the campaign was meant to compel the Office of the Ombudsman to grant the motions for reconsideration of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. who had been found liable for plunder in connection with siphoning off Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations into ghost projects.

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Santiago described Lacson as Enrile’s “attack dog” in a “massive psywar operation” mounted by the former Senate president and his former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes.

“Enrile, 90, is facing suspension from office as senator, and imprisonment in a detention cell while facing trial.  He is desperate to prevent the Ombudsman from filing the case against him in court,” Santiago said.

Santiago said “this trinity of unholy conspirators include Lacson and Reyes, because both were granted safe haven in Cagayan, his hometown, by Enrile.”

“Where is Reyes?  Nobody knows.  Why would Lacson come forward with a spurious document, one month after he claims that it was handed to him?” Santiago said.

Santiago said that Lacson’s claims are “so full of holes that it’s like a sieve.”

“This is a diversionary tactic, very similar to the so-called Zamboanga uprising.  Both are bankrolled heavily, because they are intended to forcibly turn public attention away from the criminal culpability of those charged with plunder.  For the respondents, this is a desperate make-or-break situation,” Santiago said.

Santiago called on the public to have “enlightened skepticism.” She said Napoles was now claiming that she had transactions with many other public officials, “none of whom were named by the whistle-blowers who testified at the Senate hearing.”

“Napoles could be damaged goods.  How come that her former employees have documented dealings with named public officials, but they never mentioned other public officials whom Napoles is now scheduled to reveal?” Santiago said.

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Reached for comment, Lacson said in a text message,  “Her allegation was negated by the Napoles camp even before she opened her mouth.” Lacson said the Napoles family had confirmed what he had told reporters on Wednesday.

Also yesterday, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged Napoles: “Tell the truth and return what is not yours. It’s that easy.”

“Whether state witness or not, tell the truth. Is it necessary to be a state witness for one to tell the truth?” Tagle said in an interview with reporters on Thursday.

But apart from disclosing everything she knew about the corruption scandal and confirming the involvement of some government officials, Tagle said Napoles should also return all the public funds she supposedly pocketed.

“Justice demands that, doesn’t it? Let’s not make it any more complicated than it already is,” he said. With a report from Tina G. Santos

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TAGS: conspiracy, Janet Lim Napoles, Janet Napoles, Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, PDAF, Ramon Revilla Jr.
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