Thursday, August 30, 2007

Who framed Erap ? Conspiracy at the highest level

The corrupt Arroyo regime is tainted with fraud. Gloria Arroyo and her close political allies have mastered the art of deception and fraud. The Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Achieves Office and other agencies under the Executive Department have deliberately manufactured documents and false witnesses to persecute political enemies.

GMA, aides framed Erap on raps— witness

By Charlie V. Manalo and Eric Dorente

Daily Tribune 08/31/2007

It read like a high-profile list of conspirators, led by President Arroyo, former Ombudsman Aniano Desierto and down the line, banding together to obstruct justice in every way they could.

The plunder case against deposed President Joseph Estrada took on a new twist yesterday as a former action officer of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) presented himself before the Sandiganbayan to reveal how he was coerced by certain government officials to file a case of perjury against the detained leader.

In a Manifestation of Intervention filed by lawyer Cirilo Avila, Federico Manrique bared damaging testimonies on a second perjury case filed by the government against Estrada, the culpability of which may reach the highest office of the land.

In his affidavit, Manrique narrated how he, sometime in the last week of October 2001, was contacted by a lawyer who represented himself as a member of the prosecution team in the Estrada cases.

Manrique said the lawyer convinced him to file another perjury case against the deposed president since the original case filed

by the Ombudsman was deemed to be weak and insufficient in evidence.

The lawyer added Manrique’s complaint against Estrada had to be antedated to make it appear that even before the Ombudsman had filed his own case, “there already was an interested complainant against Estrada.

In so doing, the lawyer said, Manrique’s complaint would negate the growing public perception that the Ombudsman was persecuting Estrada.

The lawyer, who claimed to be working for then Ombudsman Aniano Desierto, volunteered to collate all documentary evidence pertinent to the filing of the perjury case by Manrique.

According to Avila, Manrique at first acceded to all the conditions of the request of the prosecution team in the Estrada cases but at the last minute, just as he was supposed to “spill the beans” by exposing the irregularity, a battery of government officials including former presidential chief of staff Roberto Tiglao, now Philippine Ambassador to Greece, Presi-dential Commission on Good Government commissioner Nicasio Conti, Gen. Leo Alvez, Secretary Hernani Braganza, Secretary Simeon Datumanong, then Col, Delfin Bangit, Major Boyet Baraquel, Gen. Prospero Noble, Director Ramon Cuyco, Assistant Secretary Cecille Rebong, then Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Joey Lina, VACC chairman Dante Jimenez and Lauro Vizconde, tried to prevent Manrique from testifying on the irregularity surrounding the prosecution and trial of Estrada.

And succeed they did, he said, when President Arroyo herself gave instructions that Manrique and his entire family be immediately secured and brought to Canada on diplomatic status.

In his manifestation, Avila cited several flaws in the second perjury case filed by the prosecution in behalf of Manrique.

First, the amended information in Sandiganbayan dated April 4, 2001, based on the complaint filed by the VACC was filed by the Ombudsman ahead of the supposed complaint of VACC which is dated Sept. 10, 2001.

Second, the supposed letter request for vital documents of the VACC that was used as basis for the filing of the second perjury case was fabricated on orders of then Ombudsman Desierto, et al.

Third, said letter-request mentioned in item B, was antedated, which the record clerk refused to record it in the incoming logbook.

Fourth, the original draft complaint was alleged to have been manufactured by the Ombudsman and was prepared for signature by the supposed complainant, the VACC.

Fifth, said draft complaint was revised and corrected in her own handwriting by lawyer Persida Acosta, the chief of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) which is under the Department of Justice.

Sixth, lawyer Acosta represented herself as defense lawyer of Estrada and had many times submitted a motion to be excluded as counsel of the accused. She, however, never mentioned that she was one with the alleged brains in the fabrication and filing of the perjury case.

Lastly, the entire conspiracy was done with the full knowledge of Mrs. Arroyo who was claimed to have personally orchestrated, obstructed and prevented the truth on the conspiracy from surfacing by effecting the transfer of Manrique and his family to Canada on a diplomatic status.

Avila said he came to know only of the irregularity in the perjury case against Estrada when he and Manrique had the opportunity to meet sometime last April, being old acquaintances.

In the said meeting, Manrique allegedly told Avila everything he knew in the Erap case, which he said he had written in his book, The Dark Conspiracy, to which Avila advised the Manrique to consult with the lawyers of Estrada.

While Avila was able to talk with one of the detained counsels Rene Saguisag, who was willing to meet with Manrique, he was already back in Canada by that time.

With the uncertainty of Manrique taking the witness stand, Saguisag, in a memorandum, wrote the Sandiganbayan about a potential witness “who can show obstruction of justice at the highest level.”

“We realize that a critical point has been reached and we cannot stay this case, much less that of plunder, but in a bizarre case where a celebrity has been treated cruelly, by punishing him more than an ordinary Filipino, he should be understood for using any weapon, to gain vindication, and expose those behind his maltreatment, within law, policy and reason,” Saguisag stated in his memorandum.

While Avila acknowledges the fact that proceedings of Estrada’s case have already reached the terminal stage wherein both prosecution and defense have rested their cases, he said it is his opinion that if a judgment is eventually issued without the information they have provided, “then such judgment will be incomplete even if it will be favorable to the party upon whom the information would be beneficial,” in obvious reference to Estrada.

“Our courts of law exist not only to give justice to the parties but more importantly to serve the higher interests of the principles of truth and morality,” said Avila . “These principles are the basis for the existence of men living in present day civilization.”

“They are the reason for the propagation of humanity. They are the ultimate foundations of society.”

The lawyer who acted as intervenor hinted at a mistrial, in light of his mentioning a witness who was allegedly instructed by the Ombudsman, who was then preparing a case against against the former leader.

Avila said Manrique had dinner with him sometime in the second week of April, where Manrique expressed remorse over his involvement at Estrada’s criminal cases.

Manrique is allegedly now willing to present himself to court should the court summon him to shed light on the supposed manufactured documents.

Beginning April, Avila said Enriquez has been working on his expose, but was only delayed by processing of his Canadian passport which has expired.

Avila said that Manrique’s revelations also bears on the more serious plunder charge against Estrada.

Avila said that when Estrada’s defense panel “walked out” one of the government lawyers the Sandiganbayan put in place was Persida Acosta, who helped in drafting the plunder charges against Estrada using documents that Manrique allegedly submitted.

“That was foul. Why will you accept a designation as defense counsel when you are a member of the (prosecution fact finding team)?” Avila said.

Avila said Acosta failed to tell the Sandiganbayan that there was an alleged “conflict of interest” with her designation.

“That would be an indication of mistrial,” Avila said, while stressing that Acosta can be disbarred for what she allegedly did.

Avila said his main aim is for the Sandiganbayan to consider all of this information in the manifestation he filed, before handing down the verdict on Estrada’s cases.

“I will be content if the Sandiganbayan will say ‘noted’ (his manifestation),” Avila said.

He said that if the Sandiganbayan will issue a resolution saying that the manifestation was noted, it should reflect in its decision.

Avila dismissed possible public perceptions of the manifestation as a delaying tactic.

“Better late than never,” he said, adding that the details are best known to the Sandiganbayan before it decides on the case.

The Dark Conspiracy
Potential witness in Estrada case a no-show

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