I’m no fool, Morato tells Malacañang
“Tell Malacañang that it’s not talking to a stupid fool.”
This was Manuel Morato’s message on Sunday to one of President Aquino’s media handlers who had challenged him to take Margarita Juico, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chair, and the PCSO board to court.
Morato, who served as PCSO director during the Arroyo administration and PCSO chair during the Ramos administration, chided the President’s deputy spokesperson, Abigail Valte, for allegedly not doing her homework.
“As early as last October, I filed a case with the Supreme Court. Have they forgotten that?” Morato told the Inquirer.
He noted that he had two issues against Malacañang: the pretermination of the 50-year lease contract of the PCSO with the Philippine Tuberculosis Society and the nondelivery of medical services that caused the deaths of so many patients while PCSO personnel were busy transferring to the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) complex (in Pasay City) that took them months to settle down.
Morato, also a former chair of the Movie and Television Review Classification Board, asked: “Why are (Juico and PCSO board members) diverting the issue, using diversionary tactics when they have not answered the main issue I sued them for?”
“Soon this case will be resolved, for sure. That’s why they have become wayward, charging us left and right to divert from the main issue. That’s their strategy,” he said.
Morato said his problem was with Juico whom he described as “dishonest.”
“She’s my town mate. We’re both from Calauag, Quezon. Her relatives were just employees of my father in our plywood plant in our hometown. Then, she was one of my directors during the Ramos administration. I know what she’s really like,” he said.
Quoting an unnamed Commission on Audit official, Morato said Juico “has been charging her grocery bills and even sanitary napkins to PCSO.”
“For one to do that, think what else she is capable of doing,” he said.
When contacted, Juico said Morato “has been saying this … Maybe, he should present the documents to support his accusations.”
“It’s easy to besmirch somebody’s reputation with a loose tongue,” Juico told the Inquirer.
Earlier, Juico brushed aside accusations made by “jueteng” whistle-blower Sandra Cam that the PCSO chair’s husband, Philip Juico, and President Aquino’s brother-in-law, Manolo Abellada, had “joined forces with (suspected) gambling lord Bong Pineda.”
Cam also called the Juicos “partners in crime.”
The PCSO chair said “it is easy to hurl accusations at anybody. But please tell (Cam) to substantiate her accusations.”
Juico said the accusations were “unfounded.”
Juico has repeatedly said that the PCSO’s transfer to the PICC complex is not about money. “It’s about safety and protecting people’s lives.”
She said the PCSO had asked engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways to inspect the PCSO offices.
“After a thorough and diligent study, among other findings, they saw and scientifically verified that the buildings the PCSO [then was occupying] were structurally defective,” Juico said.
Morato, however, said that the reasons given for moving the PCSO offices were “more imagined than real.”
In a 37-page petition, he told the Supreme Court that “huge amounts of public funds would be entailed in such a useless, temporary and unnecessary transfer.”
Morato asserted the transfer “runs counter to President Aquino’s austerity and cost-cutting measures.”
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