Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PROFILE: Estrada's star untarnished by Philippine corruption trial Read more:

Despite being detained for more than six years while on trial for large-scale corruption, ousted Philippine president Joseph Estrada still has the support and faith of the Filipino masses, who catapulted him to the presidency nine years ago.
The charismatic action-film-star-turned-politician also still has strong influence in Philippine politics, with top politicians seeking his support and endorsement.
According to a recent survey, a majority of Filipinos considers Estrada as more trustworthy than incumbent President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who replaced him in January 2001.
The poll, conducted two months before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court was to hand down a verdict on Estrada's plunder trial, showed that only 31 per cent of respondents believe the former president is corrupt, compared to 71 per cent who believe Arroyo is corrupt.
Estrada's undiminished love affair with the Philippines' impoverished millions dates back to his early childhood when he would pilfer bread from his house in Manila's San Juan town and give it to his playmates in the slum area a few blocks away.
The 70-year-old Estrada, who is the eighth among 10 children from an upper-middle class family, dropped out when he was in high school and pursued a career as an action-movie star.
Throughout his awards-rich movie career, Estrada starred in films that were mostly about the struggle of the poor against the elite and the elitist system, or the rise of an underdog. This further endeared him to the ordinary people.
Estrada's first foray into politics was in 1967 when he ran for mayor in his hometown in San Juan and lost. But he contested the results and in 1969, the Supreme Court ruled he was the true winner in the race.
For the next 17 years, he held the post of mayor of San Juan, winning re-elections and turning the town into a first-class municipality. But his key achievement as town executive was providing a decent housing resettlement site to more than 1,600 squatter families living in San Juan.
Estrada's political star shone brighter in 1987 when he ran and won as senator, one of the only two opposition politicians who made it to the administration-dominated Senate then.
Despite being derided for his "carabao" English or ungrammatical use of the language, Estrada distinguished himself in the Senate by staunchly supporting the removal of US bases in the Philippines, which happened in 1992.
When his six-year-term as senator ended in 1992, he ran as vice president and won. By this time, his gambling and womanizing activities were pushed to the limelight by his detractors.
These personal weaknesses, however, were eclipsed by Estrada's achievement as chief of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, which successfully dismantled kidnapping and drug trafficking syndicates.
Estrada's rise to power was unstoppable in 1998, when he won the presidential election by the widest margin ever in Philippine politics. He was the only elected Philippine president in recent times who was not accused of vote-rigging.
He vowed to uplift the masses from the quagmire of poverty during his presidency, which he often referred to as "the greatest performance" of his life.
But 31 months later, he was ousted by a military-backed mass uprising over allegations he pocketed public funds and accepted bribes from illegal gambling lords, the same accusations currently haunting Arroyo and her administration.
Estrada has denied the allegations and hopes that the Sandiganbayan's verdict on Wednesday would finally clear his name.
"I have served my country as mayor for 17 years, six years as senator and six years as vice president and my record as public official was untainted," he said in a radio interview. "It was when I became president that I was accused of stealing money."
Estrada said that if the allegations were true, he would have already accepted an offer to flee the country shortly after he was ousted in 2001.
"But I rejected that offer because I knew I needed to clear my name and I did that, I proved that the charges against me are all lies when I testified at the Sandiganbayan during my trial," he said.
While the verdict is still out on Estrada, a Transparency International report has already included him in a list of the 10 most corrupt leaders in the world for the past two decades. He rounded up the list, which was topped by Indonesia's Suharto. dpa jg gl jh

Read more:

The road to hell

The culture of corruption that is deeply imbedded in Philippine governance and politics particularly the use of “goons, guns and gold” to manipulate election results is re-appearing as a major factor behind the war and terrorism in Mindanao.  The current series of exposes of mother-of-all election irregularities that were perpetrated particularly in Muslim towns and provinces betrays a wholesale attitude, harnessed by the nation’s opportunistic elite, of ill regard or condescension towards Muslim Filipinos.  

The belligerence of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) may be making the search for peace complicated and difficult.  However, the underlying corruption and nasty attitude towards Mindanao can only continue to fuel the rebellion and terrorism.  

The exposed widespread bribing and intimidation of election officials and local politicians by their national counterparts and overlords have had far-reaching effects.  It teaches and develops in local political leaders a culture of impunity, they learn to become accountable only to their personal, vested interests.  Election being its heart, democracy has been thus paralyzed and is unable to deliver on its social contract with the people.  Deprived of their rightful basic socio-economic benefits, neglected and exploited residents particularly in Muslim areas are forced turn to criminalities, terrorism and insurgencies. 

The controversial move by the Aquino government to postpone and synchronize elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is the inverse side of this tradition of exploitation by the national leadership.   The given excuse to save P2-billion by postponing the election is achieved by sacrificing the Muslim constituents’ right to self-governance and self-determination, the key principle behind their regional autonomy.   The saving goes to a currently underspent national budget, and which when eventually spent will most likely be on projects done outside of ARMM. 

The worse assault is on the civil dignity and rights of the people and their leaders.  The appointment of an ARMM officer in charge and lesser officials to otherwise elective positions will make a mockery of the constituents’ democratic prerogatives and rights.   A law allowing the political appointments was passed without the benefit of a plebiscite, which was needed to ratify the organic act that created and regulates the ARMM. 

The latter law high-handedly plays around with the Muslim constituents’ right of suffrage and its underlying purpose.  The concept of appointing executives and legislators to cure ARMM of its endemic malgovernance to a very tight, unrealistic term – to prettify PNoy’s anti- corruption drive - merely amounts to a smug and nebulous political theory.  No matter how scientific or rigorous the ongoing selection process may be behind the appointments, there is no guarantee that PNoy’s appointed clones will perform any better than their elected predecessors.  They will after all be accountable not to the people of ARMM, but only to PNoy.  Any which way, the citizens – and our collective peace – shall have lost again.

Robredo admits hearing corruption, abuse issues vs cops

MANILA, Philippines—Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo admitted hearing about the rampant corruption and abuses in the Philippine National Police.
“Hindi ako aminado pero naririnig ko na (I won’t admit it but I’ve been hearing about it),” Robredo said in the wake of a release of a Wikileaks document where US diplomats supposedly compared the PNP with the Chicago cops in the Al Capone era who tortured, extorted and even murdered suspected criminals.
But he said the allegations about the PNP could just be a “gossip.” “Ang tsismis ay pwedeng totoo, pwedeng hindi (A gossip could be true, or not),” Robredo said.
The 2005 cable, sent apparently by the then number two at the US embassy in Manila, outlined in colorful language what it said was “endemic” corruption within the 117,000-member Philippine National Police (PNP) force.
“Mission observers compare the PNP to police forces in Al Capone’s Chicago, or 1940s ‘LA Confidential’ Los Angeles,” said the cable published by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks
“Apart from corruption, many cops undertake investigative short cuts that often employ physical abuse, the planting of evidence, and sometimes — allegedly under guidance from local elected officials — the extra-judicial killing of criminal suspects.”
Robredo said if those allegations could be proven, something must be done.
“I don’t know if their (WikiLeaks) basis those were true or not,” he said.
Al Capone gained notoriety in the US for his involvement in gambling, prostitution and bootlegging rackets in Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s.
The Oscar-winning 1997 Hollywood film “LA Confidential”, starring Russell Crowe, portrayed police corruption in Los Angeles in the 1950s.
Among the many specific examples of alleged corruption by Philippine police, the WikiLeaks cable said officers regularly stole money meant for training and salaries.
Police trainers also extorted money from recruits while other officers pressured businessmen to fork out money to put petrol in their patrol vehicles, the cable said.
In one case, an agent with the National Bureau of Investigation went into swindling, extortion, and kidnappings while being helped and protected by Manila police officers, according to the cable.
The leaked cable was signed and written by “Mussomeli”. Joseph Mussomeli was the number of two at the embassy at the time, and is now the US ambassador to Slovenia, according to a US government website.With Agence France-Presse

Ending the culture of corruption

Business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan is understandably impatient at the delayed approval of the acquisition by his flagship telecommunications company, Philippine Long Distance Telephone, of the country’s third largest telco, Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc./Sun Cellular.
But it seems he might have to wait some more before getting the approval of the mega deal with the Gokongweis’ Digitel as Malacañang and the National Telecommunications Commission review the deal in the light of the anti-trust suit against the dominant United States telco AT&T in its bid to acquire T-Mobile.
AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition is apparently distinctly similar to the PLDT-Sun/Digitel deal. The Aquino administration apparently wants to make sure that the pitfalls that might be revealed in the highly controversial AT&T case is avoided by the Philippines.
There are some differences of course in the situation in the US and in the Philippines. For one, the Philippines still has to craft its own anti-trust law although President Aquino’s order for the creation of a Competition Authority to be lodged with the Department of Justice could fill the gap temporarily.
We recently interview Globe Telecom’s legal counsel Rodolfo Salalima in our radio program Karambola sa dwIZ. He pointed out that the acquisition by PLDT of Digitel will result in a monopoly of frequencies and harmful control of consumers.
Salalima said that by monopolizing the frequency highway, PDT stymies the consumer freedom to choose and effectively suppresses free market competition.
He contended that the consolidation of PLDT and Digitel will result in a lopsided imbalance of spectrum allocation as PLDT’s Smart and Digitel’s Sun will in effect serve their 60 million subscribers with 372 MHz while Globe serves 27 million subscribers with only 99 MHz.
PLDT is of course claiming that the global trend is the consolidation of market players to improve the economies of scale, rationalize capital expenditures and to meet the demand of new technologies.
Salalima said the significance of these business trends cannot override the provision of the Constitution which provides that “The state shall regulate or prohibit monopolies when the public interest so requires.”
He noted that other countries impose regulatory conditions for in-country telecom mergers. He pointed out that in the AT&T purchase of T-Mobile, AT&T was prepared to shed a significant chunk of T-Mobile’s spectrum.
Even then, the acquisition was questioned and an anti-trust suit was filed against AT&T.
Perhaps what is needed in the absence of an anti-trust law in the Philippines is for President Aquino to already activate the Competition Authority so that it can help assess the NTC impact of PLDT’s acquisition of Digitel.
Even jaded observers are shocked at the recent revelations about the extent of the culture of corruption that had prospered in the 10 years of the Arroyo administration.
The most outrageous perhaps is the so called PNP chopper scam exposed in the recent Senate Blue Ribbon probe. It epitomized the boldness and temerity of the people close to the Arroyo administration who thought they could get away with anything and everything.
The people behind that scam of passing off second-hand helicopters at premium brand prices that were even higher than the prevailing market price must have been confident that their scheme would not be discovered. In the event that they were found out, they would be immune from prosecution.
For a while, many people believed that the Aquino administration was simply engaged in a witch hunt and a noise-making spree to cover up the amateurish bungling of what critics are fond of describing as the Aquino Student Council government.
But the shocking new revelations like the chopper scam and other compelling evidence and witnesses against cases that have been exposed before have convinced the public that what the Aquino administration is doing is more than just vindictive prosecution. Rather, this is a serious campaign by President Aquino to finally end the culture of corruption that has gripped the government for decades.
The public apparently approves of the anti-corruption campaign of Mr. Aquino as shown by his continued high approval and trust rating in surveys. We believe this is more because of public perception of the President’s personal integrity, honesty and sincerity to prosecute corruption in the past administration and to stop corruption in his own administration.
Despite talks of corruption of its own in the Aquino administration it is obvious from the opinion polls that the majority of our people continue to believe that Mr. Aquino is sincere in his anti-corruption campaign.
The high hopes of the public on the President’s anti-corruption crusade are actually not surprising. During the last presidential elections, corruption became a top issue among the electorate. And it was the anti-corruption stand of then-Senator Aquino that stole the thunder from all the other presidential candidates.
Mr. Aquino’s “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” slogan was the most effective campaign line in the 2010 presidential elections. It struck a responsive chord among the voters who gave Mr. Aquino biggest vote ever for a presidential candidate.
And now, into the second year of the Aquino administration, corruption cases during the past administration keep coming up. There is the Philippine National Police chopper deal, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office anomalies, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. coffee deal, the Armed Forces of the Philippines “pabaon” mess, to name a few.
The long line of witnesses and whistle-blowers who have come out in the open to testify about what they know about these corruption cases, and even election cheating during the 2004 and 2007 elections, both during the Arroyo regime have convinced the public that what the Aquino government is doing is not a witch hunt against the Arroyo administration.
And, from what is slowly emerging, the culture of corruption apparently had reached the local levels. There is the case of a treasury official in Pangasinan who was recently dismissed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government for stealing millions from the local government’s funds by cashing LGU checks and depositing the proceeds to her personal bank accounts. Most likely, this is not an isolated case, and there could be more worms emerging out of the can in the days to come.
What this points to is a culture of corruption and impunity, a systemic raid of public funds by those in who are in power, by their family, by people close to them and by those who simply access to government funds.
From the horror corruption stories that have emerged it appears that officials and cronies of the previous administration thought that anything that is government money is their own personal fund. Every opportunity to make money is perfectly all right, no matter how this is achieved. So long as there is money to be taken, they will take.
There is the report that the PCSO, among the many anomalous contracts and transactions and payments and deals it had entered into during the Arroyo days, did not pay some P3.5 billion in taxes to the national treasury, money that could have been used to fund our schools, roads and bridges, or to feed the millions who barely survive. The money was reportedly diverted to Mrs. Arroyo’s discretionary fund, which she and her chosen officials alone can decide how to spend or send, in the year prior to the 2010 elections. How and where this P3.5 billion was disposed will likely emerge in the future as another anomaly.
We do not know whether President Aquino, when he promised to stop corruption during the presidential campaign, realized the extent of this problem, and the gravity of the legacy of plunder that he was about to uncover. Clearly, the Aquino administration has only managed to scratch the surface of this problem, and more cases will emerge.
As Mr. Aquino goes after the corruption cases of the previous administration, he should be careful. He must ensure that his officials remain clean and that the Caesar’s wife principle is applied to those close to him.
This means that those close to the President must not only be honest and but more important they should be perceived by the public as corruption free.
Otherwise, his campaign to end the culture of corruption and run after graft cases in the previous administration will go for naught

Child, 3 women massacred in remote Zamboanga del Sur town

Four people, including a pregnant woman and a 5-year-old boy, were murdered in an outskirt village of Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur, on Monday, police said yesterday.
Supt. Jose Bayani Gucela, Zamboanga del Sur police chief, said a suspect had been invited for questioning over the killings of Elizabeth Saquilabon, 58, the matriarch of the Saquilabon family; her daughters Kareen Anduhon, 21, who was pregnant, and Sheremae Saquilabon, 16; and 5-year-old Ryan Christian Ferolino, a son of Anduhon from a previous marriage.
Gucela declined to identify the suspect but said there could be other persons involved in the massacre that took place in Barangay Bogayo.
“We have in our custody a possible suspect,” he said.
Gucela said police are looking at two possible motives—robbery and a love triangle.
Insp. Aurelio Dolores Jara, operations officer of the police’s Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco), said the victims suffered multiple stab and hack wounds.
He said the suspects, believed to be between three to four persons, stabbed and axed the victims to death while they were asleep. None of the female victims had been sexually abused, he said.
The murder weapons, Jara said, were recovered separately outside the residence of the victims.
He said investigators had theorized that the suspects had a drinking session near the victims’ house “because we discovered empty bottles of beer.” Jara said the victims apparently knew the suspects.
He said the house where the victims lived was far from the more populated part of the neighborhood.
“So when the attack took place no one was aware of what was happening,” he said.
Jara said the victims’ bodies were found on Tuesday “when somebody came for a visit.”
In pursing the love triangle angle, Jara said police learned that Sheremae Saquilabon, a high school band majorette, had a relationship with a lesbian. He said the relationship turned sour when the victim took a boyfriend.
“We are also looking at this angle,” Jara said.
Jara said police were gathering fingerprints from the empty bottles and traces of saliva for DNA tests.Reporting by Hernan dela Cruz, Inquirer Mindanao in Pagadian City

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

7 prisoners escape from CDO jail

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities are now conducting a hot pursuit operation against inmates who escaped prison Tuesday dawn in Cagayan de Oro City.
Jail Warden Dominador Tagarda said seven inmates initially bolted out of the Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail and Rehabilitation Center located in the city, but 2 were immediately arrested.
The inmates allegedly escaped by destroying the roof of their prison cells past 2 a.m.
The Philippine National Police’s Special Weapons and Tactics Unit are assisting jail guards in locating the remaining prisoners

Monday, September 19, 2011

'Drunk' guard accidentally fires, hits 2 Korean kids

CEBU CITY -- A security guard accidentally fired his service firearm and hit two children and a woman.
Two and six-year-old Korean nationals, together with their babysitter, Marie Amarila,26, were rushed to the Perpetual Succour Hospital after being hit in the different parts of their body.
The incident happened outside a Korean restaurant in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City last Saturday at 7:10 p.m.
Amarilla said she was standing in the parking lot next to the guard house with the two children whom she baby-sits.
The next thing she knew, she heard a gunshot and they were already wounded.
According to the investigation of the Homicide Section of the Cebu City Police Office, security guard John Carlos Rafols, 25, was allegedly drunk when he arrived for duty.
Senior Police Officer 4 Alex Dacua of the Homicide Section said that while the victims were standing near the guardhouse, Rafols was cleaning his caliber 38 revolver.
“Maybe, he accidentally pulled the trigger and the slug ricocheted from the wall to the victims,” said Dacua.
Rafols said he did not intentionally shot the victims and that it was just plain accident.
Amarilla was hit on his neck, while the two children were hit on the chest and thigh.
A case of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple injuries will be filed against Rafols.
In a separate incident, a man was shot dead Sunday noon in Carbon Public Market.
Roland "Tagalog" Gregorio, 35, was shot dead by an unidentified man in the head.
The gunman left three bullets in Gregorio’s head, said Police Officer 3 Wetzel Berry of the Homicide Section.
Berry said they are still investigating the background of the victim to check for leads.
Berry said there were witnesses on the incident, but they failed to get information from these witnesses.
"Puros dili manug-an kay mangahadlok (They’re holding back out of fear)," said Berry.
Police are still investigating on the suspect’s identity who is still at large.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Palace: GMA didn't confirm Garcia's conviction

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said no VIP treatment would be given to former AFP Comptroller Carlos Garcia who is being transferred to the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) following his arrest Friday morning.
“We can be certain of that. There is no VIP treatment to be given to anyone,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
Lacierda said former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did not give her confirmation to the  the court martial’s decision, which was necessary for it to become effective.
“Hindi po pwede kasi i-implement ang isang decision ng court martial kung walang confirmation ng Presidente bilang commander-in-chief. Hindi inaksyunan ni dating Pangulong Arroyo ang rekomendasyon o decision ng court martial. So ngayon lang po natin siya ini-implement at kino-confirm po ni Pangulong Aquino. Pagkatapos i-confirm, the sentence is immediately executed,” Lacierda said.
“The decision of the court martial is recommendatory and becomes effective only upon the confirmation of the President of the Republic as commander-in-chief and therefore yes, he [Aquino] confirmed the decision of the military court.”

Lacierda said Garcia’s plunder case pending in the Sandiganbayan is distinct from the charges he faced before the court martial.
Garcia was arrested anew after the military court convicted Garcia of violating Articles 96 and 97 of the Articles of War.
“It is the conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman for failing to disclose/declare all his existing assets in his 2002 and his 2003 Statement of Assets and Liabilities and for holding the status of an immigrant, permanent resident of the United States of America thereby causing dishonor and disrespect to the military profession,” explained Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
Under the law, the maximum penalty is 2 years.
Gen. Eduardo Oban, Armed Forces Chief, said Garcia was arrested Friday morning following President Aquino’s confirmation of the court martial’s sentence.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ex-Philippine general rearrested for hiding assets

Ex-Philippine general rearrested for hiding assets, holding US green card
(AP) -- A retired Philippine military budget chief whose plunder charges were dismissed by a civilian court was rearrested Friday by the military to serve a prior two-year prison sentence for hiding assets and holding a U.S. green card while in service.
Retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia became a poster boy for military corruption but escaped conviction on charges of stealing 303 million pesos..

Teachers won’t be using chalk today to protest meager allowance from DepEd

TODAY, lessons in different classrooms in the country will not be written in chalk.
This, as public school teachers hold the National Chalk Holiday in protest against the meager allowance they get from the National Government to buy chalk.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) is asking the National Government to increase the annual allowance for chalk per teacher to P2,000 or P9.85 per day.
At present, public school teachers only get P700 a year as chalk allowance, or about P3.50 per school day.
ACT Cebu City Chapter said this is not enough.
The P3.50 allowance from the Department of Education (DepEd) can only buy three pieces of chalk at the most. Teachers, on the other hand, use about two pieces per class.
Cannot afford
Since most, if not all, public school teachers handle more than one subject, they end up using their money to buy chalk when they ran short.
Cyril Francis Riñen, also a member of ACT, said public school teachers cannot afford to continue using their money to buy school supplies as they have meager salaries.
Antonia N. Lim, ACT Cebu City Chapter representative, said they support the National Chalk Holiday, which is to call for an increase in chalk allowance for public school teachers.
Lim, who teaches at the Abellana National High School, said there will still be classes, but teachers will refrain from using chalk.
ACT Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio filed House Bill 4134, or the Teaching Supplies Act, which proposes to increase the chalk allowance.
According to ACT, the proposed increase would require an annual budget of P1 billion for some 500,000 public school teachers nationwide.
“What we are after is the student’s learning. The present chalk allowance is not enough,” said Lim.
Riñen said use of chalk and writing board enhance teaching. It is the most affordable and readily available visual teaching aid for teachers and students, he added.
In a separate interview, DepEd 7 Director Recaredo Borgonia Sr. said he will allow the teachers’ activity as long as it will not affect classes.
“If they will not use chalk, there are other alternatives in teaching,” he told Sun.Star.
He added that the budget intended for the chalk allowance will have to depend on the National Government.
“Whether there will be an increase or not, I hope that their teaching will not be affected,” he said.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the chalk allowance can be increased if Congress approves DepEd’s proposed budget of P237 billion for 2012, which is 14 percent higher than this year’s P207 billion

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Philippines to charge policemen in YouTube torture clip

The Philippine government said Tuesday it would file criminal charges against a dismissed Manila police commander and six officers who were filmed torturing a naked crime suspect.
Justice ministry investigators are to charge the seven with torture leading to the the death of the man, even though his body has not been found, senior assistant state prosecutor Phillip Kimpo said.
He said it was clear from the footage, believed to have been filmed through a mobile phone and which later became a viral hit on the video-sharing website YouTube, that the crime of torture was committed.
"The identity of the victim was further established by his wife and father... as well as the three former inmates in the police station who had witnessed the actual mauling (torture) of the victim," Kimpo wrote in his report.
Under a 2009 anti-torture act, physical beating that leads to the victim's death is punishable by a 30-year prison term.
The naked victim was believed to be Darius Evangelista, who was arrested for robbery on March 5 by police officers working for Senior Inspector Joselito Binayug, the commander of a Manila police precinct at the time.
The clip showed the victim lying on the floor and groaning in pain as a man identified by investigators as Binayug whipped him while simultaneously jerking a string attached to the victim's penis.
The footage also showed other men watching the torture taking place, Kimpo said. The origin of the clip was never established.
Three fellow inmates later identified the men in the clip as Binayug and other policemen, Kimpo said.
The inmates said the victim was later taken out of the police station and they never saw him again, he added.
Evangelista's wife and father reported him missing to the police five months later and identified him in the video clip.
Binayug was dishonourably dismissed from the police force last April amid a criminal investigation.
Kimpo said Binayug and the police suspects have challenged the legality of the use of the video footage as evidence, and cited the fact that the body of the victim, who is presumed dead, had never been found.

Poll officers bribed to ensure win for Arroyo in 2004-witness

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Election officers were bribed to ensure the victory of then Philippine president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo during the 2004 presidential elections, a former Sharia Judge Court told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Nagamura Moner told the Senate blue ribbon committee that he paid the election officers in some areas in Mindanao to change the results in favor of Arroyo.
"What was the money for?" asked Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile.
"It was to pay the election officers...because at that time, the results of the counting showed that (Fernando Poe Jr) was winning by landslide," Moner said, referring to the late actor, who lost to Arroyo in the 2004 presidential elections.
"You were bribing election officers?" Enrile asked again.
"Yes your honor although I have not met them," Moner said.
Moner said a total of 400,000 pesos (US$9,300) was spent in Tawi-Tawi and 500,000 pesos ($12,000) in Sulu to change the results of the elections in these areas.
Moner said he was tapped by then Philippine Ports Authority general manager Alfonso Cusi for the operation because his brother -in -law, Efren Bollozos, was working as manager of the PPA.

Ex-judge admits giving bribe money to help Arroyo win in 2004

A former Shari'a court judge has admitted helping distribute alleged bribe money to help then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo win the 2004 presidential polls.
During Tuesday's Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the PNP choppers mess, Judge Nagamura Moner said that on May 13, 2004, former Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director general Alfonso Cusi called him up to help Mrs. Arroyo.
"I received a call from Alfonso Cusi (at) about 9:30 p.m. telling me that I should go to Cotabato City, Tawi-Tawi, and Sulu to find a way to what can be done for the elections for president in those areas because then President Gloria Arroyo was losing in those areas," Moner said.
He said Cusi was then the manager of the Philippine Ports Authority, where his brother-in-law, Efren Bollozos, worked.
A day after, he said Cusi called him again but this time he passed the phone to former First Gentlemen Mike Arroyo, who talked to him briefly.
“He just told me to do everything for the President (Mrs. Arroyo) and after the elections I will take of you and your family," Moner said.
As of posting time, GMA News Online was still trying to reach the camp of Mrs. Arroyo. The former Philippine leader has repeatedly denied involvement in any poll fraud.
At the hearing, Moner said he had refused at first but later on was forced to follow the order because he feared for the safety of his family members.
Widening the lead
He said he was first asked to "find contacts with election officers and if necessary pay them off" in several places in Mindanao to help Mrs. Arroyo win the presidency. He said he usually gave out and handled money in sums of P100,000, P300,000, and P3 million.
"At that time, the result of the counting [at the] precinct level showed FPJ winning by [a] landslide. [So the money] was to pay the election officers... for them to change the results of the elections," he said.
Mrs. Arroyo won in the 2004 presidential elections after garnering 12,905,808 votes over the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.'s 11,782,232 votes. Poe claimed that Mrs. Arroyo had robbed him of his victory. He died on Dec. 14, 2004 but his widow, Susan Roces, pursued the protest. In 2005, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) dismissed the protest.
In an affidavit submitted to the Senate, Moner said that among the areas he had visited during the canvassing of votes were Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu — which he said had a voting strength of 1.8 million voters.
He said some of his contacts included Abdul Wahab Batugan, Diana Datu-Imam (Marawi City), Amerhasaan Doro (Tawi-Tawi), Judge Bensandi Arabani (Tawi-Tawi), Manual Dirindigun (Iligan City), Judge Casan-Ali Limbona (Cotabato City), and Lomala Macadaub and Minupun Batugan (Jolo).
Bribery operation
Moner said that he first went to Marawi City where he paid 17 election officers P5,000 each, not knowing that somebody else had already paid them P15,000 each to ensure Arroyo's victory.
During Tuesday's hearing, he said he only found out who gave the money after the elections and that the person was an incumbent government official, whom he refused to identify.
In an interview after the hearing, Moner said that they had a budget of P8 million for the whole operation, from which he pocketed P1 million. He said he specifically spent P400,000 for Tawi-Tawi and P500,000 for Sulu.
He said that the money was usually deposited to his account or brought by someone from the Presidential Security Group. He identified the person as "Dave."
But aside from the poll operation, he said he was also asked to introduce Mr. Arroyo to several political leaders who could be persuaded to switch allegiances.
In his affidavit, Moner said he was made to give 16 people P280,000 in June 2004 for them to say in press conferences and new releases that there was no cheating during the polls. He identified some of the people as:
1. Pacasirang Batidor
2. Farouk Lomondot
3. Yusoph Muhammad
4. Nasser Yusoph
5. Abdulrahim Bagundang
6. Maulawi Calimba
7. Rashde Mindalano
8. Nasser Abdula
9. Dimakuta Daranda
10. Manuel Dirindigun
Two days later, he said that the same 16 people were briefed by former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera on how to cover up the cheating.
During the same month, he said he and his wife were invited to the Palace for the birthday of celebration of Mike Arroyo, where he was introduced as the operator in Mindanao.
"I was promised as head of the Office of the Muslim Affairs, but I did not submit my papers for the position as I was vacillating whether or not I should just stay on as Sharia judge," he said.
He likewise said that P3 million was sent to his brother-in-law and other associates so that they wouldn't be "restive" and so that they wouldn't expose their participation in the cheating.
He added that Mrs. Arroyo personally met him at a hotel in Cagayan de Oro City.
"I met GMA inside a room at the Pryce Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City with Bert Gonzales and I told her she has no problem with me, and to which she said thank you," he said.
For the truth
In an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Moner said that it took him so long to come out because he was afraid of what might happen to his family.
"Now that GMA is not in power anymore, I would like to tell the truth and correct some things I did mention and some inconsistencies," he said.
"It took me five years to decide whether I can bear the threats to my family but it seems it's a different environment, a different circumstance," he added.
He admitted, however, that he has been receiving threats. "We receive texts like hinay-hinay ka... of course unidentified numbers," he said.
Because of this, he said he approached the Carmelite sisters of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines when he finally decided to come out.
"I am under their protection. I am a Muslim that is the irony. I am a Muslim and I am being given sanctuary by the (Catholic) Church," he said.
Moner, meanwhile, asked for forgiveness from Roces, Poe's widow.
"Mrs. Poe, uulitin ko I'm sorry. Kung nasabi natin ito before proclamation baka hindi nagkaroon ng proclamation kaya lang there was no opportunity," he said.
Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona said that they are already providing Moner with security. On the other hand, Sen. Panfilo Lacson also requested security for Moner from Armed Forces chief Eduardo Oban Jr

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Guard won't file complaint vs lawmaker who punched him

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - A security guard who was allegedly punched twice by Lanao del Sur Rep. Mohammed Hussein Pangandaman will no longer file a case against the lawmaker because he is afraid of him.
Security guard Ricardo Bonayog failed to show up at the Commission on Human Rights after deciding that he will no longer file a complaint against  Pangandaman.
In a phone interview with the media, Bonayog said he is withdrawing his complaint against Pangandaman because he feared for his and his family's safety. "Ang kalaban ko po malaking tao po. Ako po ordinaryong tao lang," he said.
Bonayog assured the media that nobody talked to him or threatened him to back out.
He, however, said he would like for the congressman to make a public apology, but also said that he has already forgiven the congressman.
CHR Commissioner Norberto dela Cruz said they cannot do any investigation if there is no complaint, "Kung ganun ang pasya ng gwardya, wala na yan. Pero bukas ang pinto namin. Ang mga kaso ng human rights violation ay walang prescription. So anytime ay bukas ang aming pinto para sa kanya."
Dela Cruz said the CHR cannot do its own investigation just by relying on Bonayog's account. "There is always due process," he said.
The security guard earlier said Pangandaman punched him twice on the left ear after the lawmaker refused to let Bonayog inspect his Porsche Carrera at the Ayala Technohub at the UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City.
Pangandaman claimed he hit the guard after the latter appeared to be drawing his service firearm.
House Majority Leader Boyet Gonzales earlier said the House of Representatives cannot investigate Pangandaman in proceedings before the Committee on Ethics and Privileges unless the security guard files a complaint.
Gonzales noted that if proven true, Pangandaman may be suspended or expelled.

Talking on your cell phone in traffic can be deadly.

MANILA, Philippines – A call center agent died after being hit by a vehicle Wednesday dawn along Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City.
The victim, Cherry Mae Lagumbay, was crossing the road when a red Mazda hit her. The driver flew the scene.
Due to the impact, the grille was detached from the car. Shattered glasses were also found at the scene.
Witnesses suspect Lagumbay did not notice the incoming vehicle because she was on the phone.
SPO2 Mark Manzano of Pasig PNP said they will review CCTV recordings around the area to identify the vehicle's owner.

Fabric thief shot dead in Muntinlupa

MANILA, Philippines – A thief who tried to steal from an imported fabrics warehouse in Muntinlupa was shot dead by a security guard past midnight Thursday.
Barangay Putatan official Roberto Nicanor said the unidentified suspect was found dead at the second floor of the warehouse.
The thief was supposedly shot in the head. Found near him was a gun and a bolt cutter.
The thief supposedly had an accomplice, who was able to escape.
Benjie Duya, Senior Operations Manager of Mustang Security Group, refused to name the security guard who shot the thief.
He said this was the third time thieves raided the warehouse, costing them millions worth of fabric.
Authorities said they have yet to identify the thief, who was on his 20s and has a rabbit tattoo on his neck

QC residents, groups rally against demolition

MANILA, Philippines – Residents of Sitio San Rafael in Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City, whose homes were demolished on August 31, together with various groups held a rally on Saturday to protest against the demolition of some 300 houses.
The groups, including Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan-Quezon City (Makabayan-QC), Bayan Muna Party-List-QC, Gabriela-QC and Kabataan Party-List –QC, convened along Commonwealth Avenue to show their support for the residents.
Affected residents and the groups held noise barrage and candle lighting activities after residents of the one-hectare property in Old Balara lost their homes.
In a press statement, the protesters expressed dismay because the government did not secure a relocation site for the residents.

“Pushing our poor people away from their homes and communities while leaving them with nothing and with nowhere to go can be considered as a gross violation of their basic rights to live and have decent life,” said. Vilma Gabunada, Public Information Officer of Gabriela-QC.
The groups urged President Benigno Aquino III to take action on what they felt as an “illegal” demolition of homes belonging to the urban poor community.
“The continuing silence of PNoy on issues of urban poor sets bad precedent to communities nationwide who are facing threats of demolition. The President himself must be the first to defend the welfare of his constituents against all forms of attacks, dislocation and destruction. On the contrary, since his first day in office, almost 6,000 families all over the country already lost their homes due to demolitions,” Gabunada said.

“If President Aquino will remain heedless to the clamor of poor Filipinos for shelter and other basic social services, then he is only proving that his bosses are not the majority of our population rather the few and elite classes. If this will continue, then he must start to count his days in the sit of power,” she added.
The groups also called on Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista to address concerns of “massive dislocation, displacement and homelessness despite implementation of the said demolition while not offering relocation for [the residents].”
Authorities, meanwhile, have denied that they failed to give the residents notice of the demolition.
They said the residents were given a week to prepare.
The property's owners gave at least 300 demolished residents of Old Balara P24,000 each

MANILA, Philippines – Two suspected thieves were killed by authorities in Biñan City, Laguna before dawn Tuesday.
Biñan City police said they spotted the two suspects aboard two separate motorcycles around 1 a.m. while conducting their “Oplan Sita” and “Oplan Galugad” anti-crime campaigns.
The suspects then fired shots at the police when they were told to stop at a checkpoint along Diversion Road in Barangay Canlalay.
The police were able to gun down the suspects. They also recovered from the suspects allegedly stolen motorcycles and 2 caliber .38 pistols

3 robbers gunned down in Manila

MANILA, Philippines – Three suspected robbers were shot dead by Manila police before dawn Thursday.
Manila Police District (MPD) Station 4 chief Jomar Modiquillo said the three suspects reportedly victimized passengers of a jeepney bound for Cubao in Quiapo district around 1:30 a.m.
One of the victims, Jessie Gabar, said the robbers took her cellphone and P500 and another victim’s bag.
After disembarking the jeepney, the suspects had an encounter with Manila police, leading to a firefight.
Two of the suspects were killed on the spot along Quiapo underpass, while the other was declared dead on arrival at a hospital.
Modiquillo told the public to be beware of robbers and thieves as the Christmas season draws near.

Motorist faces raps for shooting enforcer

MANILA, Philippines - Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino ordered the agency’s lawyers to pursue criminal charges against a driver who shot and wounded a traffic enforcer on Wednesday along Edsa in Mandaluyong.
In a press release, Tolentino lamented the situation of traffic enforcer Larry Fiala, as he called on the public to also respect others.
"Traffic laws were enacted to put order in the streets. And somebody has to enforce the law and we motorists have to comply. Let us treat each other with respect. Definitely we don't want anyone to get hurt," Tolentino said.
Reports show Fiala flagged down a black Nissan Frontier pick-up, owned by Edward John Gonzalez, for a traffic violation. Irked, the driver hit him in the face and sped away.
Fiala caught up with him near Connecticut Street in Edsa. A witness later saw Gonzalez emerge with a gun and shot the traffic enforcer several times.
Fiala is now recovering from an emergency operation at the Victor Potenciano Memorial Hospital.
Tolentino assured the family that the MMDA will attend to his medical care and related needs. 
Gonzalez, on the other hand, is now detained at the Mandaluyong City police headquarters.

Jeepney driver shot dead by passenger

MANILA, Philippines – A jeepney driver was shot dead by a passenger in Pasig on Thursday morning.
The victim, 47-year-old Montalban, Rizal resident Maximo Perez, was driving along San Agustin Street in Barangay Pinagbuhatan when the unidentified suspect shot him at the back of his head.
The bullet passed through Perez’s right eye, causing his death.
SPO2 Rogelio Baltazar of Pasig police said the suspect, who immediately fled the scene, was one of three passengers inside the jeepney when the incident happened.
Baltazar said the two other passengers were nowhere to be found.
He added that the suspect did not take anything from the victim.
Marlon, the victim’s son, said he doesn’t know anyone who would have the motive to kill his father.
Witnesses said the suspect, with an estimated height of 5 feet and 6 inches, was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wounded cop in robbery rescued by ‘pickpocket’

CEBU CITY -- Even in handcuffs, alleged pickpocket Felix Cañete grabbed the collar of PO1 Roy Ceniza and pulled him inside the police patrol car, after seeing a robber aim his gun at the officer.
"I dragged him so he won't get hit. I pitied him," said the 52-year-old Cañete, who has three children with his estranged wife.
"He was on the brink of death, and I saved him because like me, he has a family," he said Monday in Cebuano.
Ceniza was hit in the right foot, while his companion PO1 Elrich Jourdin Catacutan was hit in the chest near the right armpit.
Both officers and PO1 Ernesto Silva fought four men who robbed China Bank personnel and security outside the supermarket of the Robinsons Mall on Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City Monday morning.
The two policemen belong to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Mobile Patrol Group (MPG).
Cañete and Silva were not hurt.
However, two security guards were killed in the shootout.
Firearms, Explosives, Security Agencies and Guard Supervision Section Chief Rex Derilo told Sun.Star Cebu that slain security guards Leofer Etac and Lito Odac will each be given a Medal of Honor.
"They will be recognized for their works. It will be realized as soon as possible," he said.
Following the shootout, the floor and the seats in the back of MPG car 018 that Cañete was riding were stained with blood, its right headlight hit by a bullet.
"It's alright with me if I'm the one who got hit," said Cañete, who was convicted of frustrated homicide in 1976, freed 12 years later, but returned to Muntinlupa in 2000.
Silva, the patrol car driver, said they fetched Cañete from Carbon Police Station before the encounter happened at past 9 a.m.
They went to the Cebu City Medical Center for the suspect's medical checkup. Afterwards, Cañete asked them for breakfast while they were traveling along Osmeña Blvd. They stopped by an eatery near the mall.
Last Friday afternoon, Silva and Catacutan arrested Cañete, who allegedly stole Juliet Largo's pouch, which contained P600 cash, a comb, and lipstick. The suspect was charged the next day with theft before the Cebu City Prosecutor's Office.
Since the inquest proceeding ended late in the afternoon, Silva said they were not able to commit Cañete to the Cebu City Jail in Barangay Kalunasan. They finished their business Monday.
As they headed toward the Palace of Justice in the Capitol grounds, Silva said they heard gunfire near the mall, not far from the Fuente Police Station.
"Nimenor mi. Among gitan-aw unsay nahitabo (We slowed down and checked what happened)," he said.
The police officer said that after he saw the parked armored vehicles, by instinct, he realized a robbery was taking place.
"Paghunong nako nibuto-buto dayon (When I stopped, there was gunfire)," he said. "Gipabuthan mi (They shot at us)."
Silva said they went out of the vehicle and shot exchanged gunfire with the robbers. During the crossfire, Ceniza and Catacutan, who were on the vehicle's right side, were hit.
Silva said they were having difficulty in fighting the robbers because civilians were scrambling from different directions.
Cañete said he crouched in the backseat and prayed he won't get hit.
Silva then flashed a radio message, informing all police units about the robbery.
SPO1 Marvin Insong, who was on board MPG car 016 with SPO1 Christopher Mercaral and PO2 Roger Pogoy, said they immediately responded because they were on B. Rodriguez Ave., which is near the crime scene.
They chased the two robbers on board a motorcycle along F. Ramos St. The robbers made a left turn to V. Ranudo St. and went to Rahmann St.
When the robbers went back to V. Ranudo St., they were trapped by the police. A gun battle ensued near Casino Español while a downpour occurred.
Insong said people helped in pointing out where the robbers went.
Meanwhile, Silva and Insong brought Cañete on board MPG car 018 to the city jail. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mike Arroyo: I wasn’t involved in ‘jueteng’ or smuggling

Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo on Monday denounced as “downright malicious” a supposed secret US Embassy cable based on claims by Filipino businessmen that he was involved in smuggling and illegal numbers racket during his wife’s presidency.
“I was never involved in ‘jueteng’ or smuggling. I never got involved in jueteng because I know that was what brought former President (Joseph) Estrada down,” said the husband of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“I don’t even know how to play jueteng. As to smuggling, why would I do that? I would never want to sabotage my wife’s anticorruption campaign,” Mike Arroyo said in a statement.
He said that the US sources—SGV founder Washington SyCip, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Francis Chua and Makati Business Club executive director Guillermo Luz—had been “openly critical” of the Arroyos.
SyCip was an adviser of then President Arroyo, while Chua was her main link to the Chinese-Filipino business community.
“It is very disheartening that whenever the economy or the popularity of President Aquino goes down, like the recent disappointing report on gross domestic product, it is almost always followed by an Arroyo-bashing episode based on recycled issues,” Mike Arroyo said.
“When will this stop? This administration and the Senate should do their jobs by concentrating on improving the lives of the Filipino people instead of engaging in never-ending persecution and character assassination.”
House probe
Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello has filed a resolution urging the House to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of “serious criminal activities” against Mike Arroyo and added that these claims were of “grave concern.”
Bello called on the three businessmen to come forward and tell the “whole truth,” saying their statements have “far reaching implication” not only on the country’s democratic institutions but also on international business confidence.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima voiced her support for the planned House inquiry. “That would make things easier if there are personalities who are really willing to share those information,” she said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said he was not at all surprised by the WikiLeaks documents. “Is that news? Everybody knows it.” Binay said it was impossible that Arroyo was unaware of her husband’s activities.
No pattern of accuracy
While the WikiLeaks revelation supports his year-old claims of corruption against Mike Arroyo, Sen. Panfilo Lacson would rather be prudent in believing its report quoting businessmen.
“WikiLeaks is just like any other private investigator that can obtain information from (its) own sources like government officials and private individuals,” he said in an ambush interview. “Right now, I do not see a pattern of accuracy in (the WikiLeaks) information.”
Also Monday, the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to dismiss Mike Arroyo’s petition questioning the legality of the watch list order that De Lima had issued against him.
In a five-page manifestation, the justice department said that the issue had become moot because De Lima had already set aside her order.
Mike Arroyo was placed on the immigration bureau’s watch list on Aug. 4 upon the request of the Senate blue ribbon committee in connection with its probe on the alleged anomalous sale of secondhand helicopters to the Philippine National Police.
The PNP last week filed plunder charges against Mike Arroyo. This has prompted a study on whether the watch list order should be revived, according to De Lima. With reports from Marlon Ramos, Cathy Yamsuan and Dona Z. Pazzibugan

Feared clan outgunned Philippine military: WikiLeaks

The 2,000-strong private army of a powerful clan suspected of carrying out the Philippines' worst political massacre was better armed than the military and police, leaked US embassy cables showed.
The cables from late 2009, released by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, described the reach of the feared Ampatuan clan in the southern region of Mindanao and said it had authorities on the run.
Key members of the clan and its private army are now being tried for the murder of 57 people in Mindanao in 2009 but many of the accused are still at large, making witnesses reluctant to come forward.
"We estimate that the Ampatuan clan maintains a private army of up to 2,000 men -- who are often better armed and equipped than their (police) and (military) counterparts," an embassy cable said.
"Government officials were astonished by the size of the arms caches and the power of the weaponry" that was later recovered from the Ampatuans, another cable said.
However, the files also said the government had turned a "blind eye" to such private armies because they helped in the fight against Muslim insurgents.
"They are often politically allied with the President," one cable added, referring to then-president Gloria Arroyo.
The Ampatuans were allies of Arroyo but she disowned them after they were linked to the murder of 57 political rivals, lawyers and journalists in a bid to prevent a rival from challenging them in elections in 2010.
The embassy also noted that Arroyo had to impose martial law in the affected area in order to arrest the suspects, disarm the Ampatuans and restore order.
"There are many areas in the Philippines... where armed groups have proliferated and the national authorities have a very limited capability to impose order," the secret documents warned.
Although many key members of the Ampatuan clan have been arrested, victims' relatives have expressed concern that, in the Philippines' notoriously overburdened justice system, the trial could take years to complete.

Congressman accused of mauling security guard

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - A first-term lawmaker from Lanao del Sur has found himself in the middle of a tempest over allegations of mauling a security guard in a commercial car park in Quezon City.
Mohammed Hussein Pangandaman faced the House media Monday afternoon after queries about a newspaper article alleging that a congressman driving a luxury car refused to be inspected by security last Wednesday when he was about to park.
A check with the Quezon City Police District Detachment 9 in Anonas, Quezon City showed the following blotter report:
"Aug 31 935pm: This time and date SG Ricardo Bonayog y Gate 33 years old SG of Eagle Watch posted at Ayala Technohub UP Campus Diliman Quezon City appeared personally before this stn and requested to be placed on records to wit. That at 430pm aug 31 2011 whie he was performing his duty one Porsche Carrera colored silver was with plate number 8 appeared with the company of one Innova Red pn PCI 150 allegedly on said TDPO the occupant of the Porsche Carrera approached him and with reasons of his own got irked then boxed him several times causing him to fell on the ground in the presence of some witness."
The blotter did not name the congressman.
Pangandaman clan
However, media reports said the congressman belongs to a powerful Mindanao family, which also figured in an alleged mauling incident in the Valley Golf and Country club years ago, referring to the Pangandamans.
There are 2 Pangandamans in Congress, Hussein, and his father, former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman representing party-list AA Kasosyo.
Hussein Pangandaman, in an earlier media interview with ABS-CBN, confirmed he owns a Porsche but said many other congressmen also own Porsche units.
He also expressed surprise that his family has been dragged into this since they have been cleared in the Valley Golf incident.
He said he was home in Eastwood at the time of the alleged incident.
Lawmaker changes statement
Later on in the afternoon, Pangandaman told media in a longer interview that he was at Technohub last week but could not remember the date.
He said he didn't have a prepared statement and will speak from the heart.
Pangandaman said he doesn't know how the story could be fabricated and said the accusations are false.
He said sometime last week, he went to Technohub for a meeting with his uncle and lawyer. He was accompanied by staff.
He said he was driving his Porsche. When he tried to enter the parking area, he said he asked nicely if there are vacant slots.
He said the guard appeared not to hear anything.
'Pucha, ocho!'
However, when the guard checked out his plate number, Pangandaman quoted the guard as saying, "Pucha ocho!"
Pangandaman said he left it at that and went inside to park. After he parked, he saw the guard approach him.
That's when he asked the guard what seems to be the problem. The guard did not reply. That's when he said the guard acted as if he was going to draw his service firearm.
Pangandaman said he stopped him, grabbed his hand and tapped him with the piece of paper he was holding.
Pangandaman said he will file a case for harassment.
The guard, meanwhile, said he now fears for his life.
"Natakot nga ako, siyempre maliit na tao lang ako," the guard told ABS-CBN News.
Ayala Land statement
Technohub's owner, Ayala Land Incorporated, sent the following statement:
"September 5, 2011 - At about 4:22 pm on Wednesday, August 31, 2011, a vehicle bearing the plate number '8' together with a back-up car entered the parking area of the UP-Ayala Land Technohub. The drivers of the said vehicles allegedly refused to go through the usual security check required at the parking facility. The owner of the vehicle allegedly punched the security guard assigned during that time. However, the reason for his action remains unclear. Our property manager and security officers immediately reported the incident to the police for further investigation while the security guard who sustained minor injuries was brought to Quirino Medical Center for immediate medical attention."
House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III wants the matter investigated.
"The House should investigate this because such actions, if true, cause damage to the image of the institution. Being a Representative is not a license to harm anyone. We should be the first to follow the rules," he said.