Ex-Aquino exec denies he ‘saved’ Marcos from drug raid

Ex-Aquino exec denies he ‘saved’ Marcos from drug raid

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:40 AM May 21, 2024

Ex-Aquino exec denies he ‘saved’ Marcos from drug raid

NO SUCH THING Former Executive Sec. Paquito Ochoa denies allegations that he stopped an operation of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) against President Bongbong Marcos, actress Maricel Soriano and other high-profile personalities when he was the executive secretary. —Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines — Former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. on Monday rejected the claim of a former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent that he had pulled the plug on an antidrug operation that allegedly targeted President Marcos, who was then a senator, in 2012.

At the continuation of the Senate inquiry into the supposed leak of secret PDEA documents, Ochoa denied that First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, his former law firm partner, was behind his supposed order to then PDEA Deputy Director General Carlos Gadapan to call off the operation.


He also said he did not have any knowledge of the pre-operations report that former PDEA agent Jonathan Morales allegedly prepared to arrest high-profile drug personalities, who supposedly included Marcos and veteran actress Maricel Soriano.


READ: Source of leaked PDEA papers a liar, says ex-boss

Fielding questions from Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, who has been leading the hearing, Ochoa said he did not even know Gadapan.

“During your time as executive secretary, did the information regarding the alleged involvement of Soriano, [Mr.] Marcos, and other high-profile cohorts reach your office?” Dela Rosa asked.

Ochoa, who had skipped the previous hearing after he contracted COVID-19, replied in the negative.

“As I earlier mentioned, I don’t even know him (Gadapan),” he told Dela Rosa.

“And I don’t recall of any occasion that we have met or even talked. So I completely deny that I have made those instructions as alleged,” he added.


Asked if he had indeed worked closely with Araneta-Marcos, Ochoa said the President’s wife was actually one of his law partners in the Marcos Ochoa Serapio Tan Law Office, which they founded in 2006.

Ochoa said he left the law firm when then President Benigno Aquino III named him executive secretary in 2010.

When told by Dela Rosa that there were “insinuations” that he was “influenced” by his law firm partners, he replied: “That is not true, your honor.”

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He said he also never personally met Morales, who still insisted that he had submitted the pre-operations report to his superiors despite the repeated denial of PDEA Director General Moro Lazo.

TAGS: Paquito Ochoa, PDEA

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