Why Lacson is trying to demolish Villar
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-09-25

It is a truthful writer’s duty to expose why Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has been undertaking this demolition job on leading presidential candidate Senate President Manuel “Manny” Villar over the alleged double insertion on the C-5 Road Extension Project.

Up to this time, Lacson has not presented any solid proof of wrongdoing or crime on the part of Villar and yet he spouts venom and vitriol as if Villar has already been proved guilty and convicted. Having failed to present proof, Lacson is now shifting his attack on Villar’s property holdings, even recycling Joker Arroyo’s Congress issue which also did not fly then.

If Villar indeed asked for the C-5 insertion (which is normal because the project favors his old congressional district of Las Pinas that his wife now represents), still there is no proof that it was not an added cost to accommodate more road expansion and not the double entry for the same work as Lacson alleged. Following the precept our legal system operates by, the entry has to be assumed as a clerical error — thus giving Villar the benefit of presumed innocence until Lacson can prove otherwise.

Up to this point, Lacson has not proved any crime that Villar has committed. He does not even care if it was his signature on the bicameral report and not that of Villar. His claim of a double entry for the same work has been denied by the DPWH. Manuel Bonoan, a Public Works Senior Undersecretary, said that the two insertions refer to the Las Pinas and Sucat flyovers of the C-5 extension.

Lacson has not proved if — assuming it is indeed a double entry — the money will be pocketed by Villar (Prof. Ben Diokno on “The Explainer” said that it is an executive mistake more than anyone else). Yet Lacson attacks Villar as if Villar has already drawn and pocketed the money from the C-5 Extension Project.

Does this not reek of bad cop behavior? Bad cops are notorious for framing up innocent victims just so that they can present a “Case Solved” report to embellish their career record.

When Mary “Rosebud” Ong read my “Another Panfilo Lacson dud” column last week, she responded in order to express her concurrence with what I wrote. Rosebud even reminded me of what she exposed about Lacson. Rosebud calls Lacson the “frame up cop” and also “the rubout cop.”

We are merely promoting further anarchy in our country if we allow this destructive type of politics to continue. In mature democracies like the US and the UK, this type of cheap huckstering of an unsubstantiated issue is immediately condemned by responsible media and the public and the culprit suffers disgrace and public disfavor.

Unfortunately for us Filipinos, over here there are always the corrupt members of media and the gullible public — results of the Information and Education Gaps that promote poverty and exploitation — to peddle and buy the big lie.

When I was still chairman and member of COPA (Council on Philippine Affairs), we exposed the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard Road overprice. We presented a solid case that the Ombudsman concurred with and elevated to the Sandiganbayan for trial.

For all the fire and brimstone that characterize Lacson exposes in the Senate, how many cases has he succeeded in elevating to trial? I don’t recall any. Do you? Maybe it is because he shoots from the hip, as Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano called it, instead of ensuring that his brain is engaged before putting his mouth into gear.

I asked several lawyer friends what they thought about this “Road to Nowhere” expose and they all agreed not seeing any crime. But what we all saw was plain and simple dirty politics.

It is no coincidence that Villar happens to be a front running 2010 presidential candidate. Villar enjoys good satisfaction and trust ratings and has a national party and the means to catapult his drive for the presidency.

In the August 19 SWS media release on likely presidential successors, Villar was among the top three presidentiables with 25% (VP Noli de Castro had 31% while Sen. Loren Legarda had 26%). Lacson could only rate a far 16% while Sen. Chiz Escudero rated 14%, Sen. Mar Roxas, 13%, Joseph Estrada, 11% and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, 2%.

In the April 21 SWS media release, Villar bested all the top public officials with a + 53% net satisfaction rating while VP de Castro had + 47%, Chief Justice Reynato Puno had + 2% and Speaker Prospero Nograles had 12%.

Villar’s ratings in both SWS surveys spell sound fundamentals for a drive for the 2010 presidency. Actually, it is the net satisfaction ratings that count the most. Net satisfaction ratings underscore public acceptance while top of mind rating merely suggests popularity which does not always translate to presidential electability.

Sen. Loren Legarda enjoys high popularity ratings but she is lightly regarded as presidential timber. Many see her at best as another potential Vice Presidential candidate. Loren has neither a national political party nor the wherewithal to propel her presidential ambition. That is why she ran to San Miguel Corporation Boss Danding Cojuangco and his Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) to access party and money.

Lacson is in the same boat as Loren Legarda except that he seems unable to accept political reality. Lacson does not have a national political party and many of us wonder where he gets his money. And as I’ve mentioned in two previous columns — Lacson has to reckon with his image of too much blood on his hands after the Kuratong Baleleng rubout and the Bubby Dacer and his driver double murders were tagged to him, rightly or wrongly.

Are Filipinos now willing to accept someone with the image of a bad cop for their president?

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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