Garci haunts and the Arroyo regime panics
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-08-28
The reactions of Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) and her defenders betray their paranoia over the unsettled Garci Tapes issue. It is doubtful if GMA’s spiel of “I have a peace to win, an economy to run” convinces the majority of Filipinos and will make them believe that the issue is dead.

While many Filipinos are sick and tired of hearing about the tale of Garci, attaining closure and making sure the episode is not repeated is by far the greater overriding concern.

Unfortunately for GMA, the conduct of the last May elections had only revived the people’s passion for driving a stake through the heart of the cheaters in the 2004 and 2007 elections. Whoever is able to finally testify to the gory details of the Garci operations will be the Van Helsing, that fictional vampire slayer, who will end our nightmare with our cheating, blood-sucking election predators.

The people expressed their disdain over the unsettled Garci issue and the shameless railroading of the impeachment move by giving the Opposition an almost sweeping Senate victory last May. An astute politician, GMA has good reasons to fear the potency of Garci as a trigger mechanism for her ouster – a reckoning with the Filipino she has been desperately avoiding since Garci became the new household word for electoral fraud.

The threat of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez to prosecute the White House spying case against Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Garci Probe (Part II) engineer, shows how morally bankrupt the Arroyo regime is. If Gonzalez has a case against Lacson, then he ought to prosecute the case regardless if Lacson is pressing for a Garci probe or not.

Gonzalez is mandated by his oath as Justice Secretary to prosecute any person who violates the law and such prosecution is not to be used as basis for gaining concessions and compromises. By suggesting that he’ll press the spying case if Lacson presses the Garci probe — Gonzalez only displays his ineptness as Justice Secretary whose duty is to apply the law fairly and squarely, and certainly without underhanded ulterior motives.

Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol also got into the act and threatened the Garci Tapes squealer T/Sgt. Vidal Doble Jr. with a case of perjury. Did it ever occur to Apostol that Doble has taken on far greater risks by spilling the beans than what perjury could mete? It makes Apostol look stupid for thinking that Doble will be fazed by the threat of a perjury case.

Even National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales is trying to stop the Garci probe by suggesting that it could be treated as a matter of “national security” — unwittingly reinforcing the need to conduct the investigation.

It’s true that Doble’s current story runs counter to his original testimony which is said to have been made under duress because his loved ones were abducted. Even the most courageous of men backtracks in the face of imminent danger to their loved ones.

Adding to the issue of electoral fraud, Doble’s recent testimony indicts the military for bugging the Commander-in-Chief and this is indeed a matter of serious concern and national security. The focus of government prosecutors should be to ferret out the truth so that this dangerous and unlawful act can be stopped and prosecuted.

A good and earnest investigation can easily determine which of the two Doble statements reflects the truth. That version of his two conflicting statements that conforms to other evidences and events would establish the truth.

The very defensive reactions of Gonzalez, Apostol and Gonzales only show that what Doble is saying now is damaging to the Arroyo regime, thus all this bullying of Lacson and Doble. If the Arroyo regime indeed did not commit a crime, then it will do GMA more good if she pursued the truth, thus leaving behind a truly positive legacy.

If Doble’s original testimony is the truth, then the Arroyo regime should welcome this Garci Probe revival as it will burn the fingers of presidential wannabes who are generating ill-will in order to forward their political ambitions. If truth is on the side of the Arroyo regime, then this is the perfect opportunity to give Lacson — a perennial thorn of the Arroyo family — all the rope he needs in order to hang himself.

All other Opposition leaders who will ride on this issue with Ping Lacson are also committing political seppuku if indeed they are propagating a grand deception. Nothing could be better for GMA than to see many of her political enemies destroying themselves.

Surely, with all the resources of the Arroyo regime and their well-oiled media factors, there is no way that Lacson and the Opposition can foist a grand deception on the nation. Raul Gonzalez and his NBI will guarantee that the convenient truth will prevail — if truth is indeed on the side of GMA.

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