Lacson accused of ‘intellectual dishonesty, blabbering’

Senator Arroyo insists politics behind expose

By Maila Ager
First Posted 16:04:00 09/16/2008

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Senator Joker Arroyo lashed back at Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson over his expose on a congressional insertion in the 2008 national budget involving an infrastructure project, accusing him of, among others, “intellectual dishonesty.”

Taking the floor Tuesday at the Senate session, Arroyo dared Lacson to say exactly where corruption has been committed at the Senate.

In his speech Monday, Lacson claimed that corruption was committed right in the halls of the Senate, referring to the double posting of P200 million for the construction of the C-5 road extension in Parañaque City.

But the senator also clarified that his expose was not politically motivated even after this came when Senate President Manny Villar announced his presidential bid in 2010.

Arroyo then urged the Senate to do something about this accusation, saying that the honor of all its members and the chamber itself was now at stake.

At a press conference before the session, Senator Arroyo accused Lacson of “intellectually dishonesty, intellectually blabbering, and maliciously talking about corruption.”

“Senator Lacson is now charging the Senate of corruption. We can’t let this pass, I can’t let this pass,” he said.

Arroyo also criticized Lacson for sparing El Shaddai Leader Brother Mike Velarde who was also implicated in the controversy.

Why “hang” Senate President Manny Villar? Arroyo asked.

Arroyo referred anew to Lacson’s speech in which he quoted the senator as saying, “‘Mike Velarde is out.’ Why does he excuse Mike Velarde”?

“Why? Because Mike Velarde will deliver votes in 2010?” Arroyo said in his speech.

“In 2010, Mike Velarde can give two, three, five billion votes and he says there’s no politics there? By his own actions and by his own words, he betrayed his own motivations,” he said.

Velarde’s company, the Amvel Land Corp, was reported to have been among those that had benefited from the C-5 road extension.

In an interview before the session, however, Lacson denied he was trying to spare Velarde from the investigation.

“Di ako umiiwas [I am not avoiding the inclusion of Velarde in the investigation]. Sabi ko as far as our resolution na pinirmahan ko with seven others, hindi isinama kung sino ang may-ari ng properties [What I said was, as far as the resolution I signed with seven others was concerned, the owners of the properties were not included],” Lacson said, referring to the resolution, directing the Committee of the Whole to conduct an investigation into the matter.

“But Senator Jamby [Madrigal] filed another resolution, calling for an investigation of those who may have benefited or who would benefit sa [from the] construction. Doon masasama si Brother Mike [That’s where Brother Mike will be included] and I would gladly support the move to have him summoned to explain,” Lacson said.

While he also doubted that the charismatic leader was involved in the controversy, Senator Arroyo said he had to raise this point to belie Lacson’s claim that there was no politics involved in his expose.

“I owe Mike Velarde a lot. Two elections, he helped me…I don’t think, he is involved in this,” Arroyo said in the speech.

“I cite his [Velarde] name because I seek the partisanship in the statement of Senator Lacson that while he professes and make the statement that there’s no politics involved, it’s very transparent that politics is the meat of all of these,” he explained.

“Excuse Mike Velarde, hang Villar,” the senator further said.

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