Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Cory and Ping
Recently, the CBCP allegedly issued a statement that it is in favor of "people power" according to a Filipino tabloid. Although nowhere in its actual pastoral letter does it mention such a thing. Whereas, it favors the language of Cory Aquino's factotum, Ms. Corason Soliman a/k/a Denky and her mentors who lay claim to being the original weavers of the tale of Basic Christian Communities that became infiltrated by the Philippine Communist Party from the 70s to the 80s and perhaps up to now. Therefore, the new pastoral letter is most favorable for Cory Aquino and her group (Soliman, Lacson et al) who have been going around town and plan to scour the provinces in the guise of "Prayer Meetings" but actually to recruit for people power assemblies in the streets of Manila.
That is probably one of the reasons why their allies in the media have been so bold as to tell the world that the CBCP is in "favor of people power" which CBCP does not say and had never said at all.
This recent development dovetails with the earlier link between Lacson and some renegade Catholic Bishops who were creating black propaganda and hurling dirty accusations against the government. Furthermore, it sheds doubts as to whether the linkage between Cory and Lacson happened only recently since Lacson had been dealing with the renegade Bishops and priests for quite some time and that Lacson might have been in league with Cory for quite a long period already.
It is also very much worth noting that Cory's allies in the military and police have been avid supporters of Lacson and were part of his so-called Association of Generals for Ping Lacson a/k/a AGPING. Recently, Cory said that having been "Commander-in-Chief" of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, she does not lack for "friends" in the military and police. The husbands of her favorite mahjong classmates, Dolores Nazareno and Monserrat Biazon, though they may not be perfectly moral, conscientious and incorruptible, indeed have friends that can help Cory topple the Philippine President. And now there is Lacson himself too.
It is a wonder that the Bishops will not be concerned that many people would think they are intricately now linked to a ring of criminals and fugitives, with strong drug trafficking syndicate connections, heavy involvement in kidnap-for-ransom groups and Murder Incorporated? Or perhaps because, as some weird observers suggest, since it is nearly the time for the coming of the Anti-Christ, such linkage truly does not matter anymore at all. Or doesn't it really?
With the close interconnections arising from her incorrigible addiction to mahjong games, we wonder if Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Bishop Teodoro Bacani, Panfilo Lacson, Cory Aquino and the rest of the enemies of the state merely hatched their plots or threw in their lot over a mahjong game or during their bettings therein.
CBCP, ‘yes’ sa people power
Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon
September 14, 2005
Pinanindigan kahapon ng Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) ang kanilang naunang desisyon na hindi mananawagan sa pagpapababa sa puwesto kay Pangulong Arroyo subalit bukas umano sila sa people power.
Ito ang napagkasunduan ng mga obispo na dumalo sa isinagawang regular na meeting ng Permanent Council ng CBCP na binubuo ng 12 mga obispo at arsobispo kahapon.
Bagamat hindi tutol ang CBCP sa people power, sinabi nila na hindi ito dapat isagawa nang may kaakibat na karahasan at dapat ay naaayon sa tamang moral principle at sa prinsipyo ng Rule of Law.
Nilinaw rin ni outgoing president at Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla na para sa taumbayan ang pananaw na ito ng simbahan sa people power at hindi para sa mga obispo at pari.
Muling hiningi ng CBCP sa mamamayan na pag-ibayuhin pa ang panalangin at tigilan na ang pamumulitika sa bansa na nagbubunsod upang lalong maghirap ang bansa at magkahati-hati ang mga Filipino.
Nang tanungin si Capalla kung sa palagay nila ay natupad ba ni Pangulong Arroyo ang mga pangako nito, "iilan lamang" sa mga pangako ng Pangulo ang nakita nilang natupad. (Mer Layson/Gemma Amargo/Lilia Tolentino)
Filipino fugitive nabbed by US feds in New York
NEW YORK, March 17, 2005 --- Filipino fugitive and former aide to Senator Panfilo Lacson who was linked to the 1995 killing of suspected Kuratong Baleleng gang members was arrested on Tuesday morning for an alleged immigration violation.
Michael Ray Aquino, who was also implicated in the abduction and killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000, was reportedly nabbed by US authorities at Federal Plaza Building in New York City.
According to a source who spoke to Filipino Express on anonymity, Aquino is currently detained in Passaic County jail and could face deportation.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officials in Manila said in a report earlier this week that they have yet to confirm the reason on Aquino’s arrest.
“In my opinion, there’s something deeper than immigration issues. Aquino was arrested for a more serious offense,” said G. Regalado, a Filipino customer in Jersey City travel agency.
On Jan. 8, 2001, former police asset Mary “Rosebud” Ong also filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against Aquino, Lacson and several other police officials tagged in the kidnapping for ransom and murders of suspected Chinese drug lords.
The Supreme Court, however, junked last month the kidnapping cases lodged against the former police officers.
State Prosecutor Juan Navera, meanwhile, said there is no guarantee for Aquino to be extradited to the Philippines because there is no standing warrant for his arrest.
He said no arrest warrant has been issued against Aquino because the Dacer-Corbito murder case is still pending before the Supreme Court.
Navera also said the prosecution cannot proceed with the case until the Supreme Court allows the admission of the prosecution panel's amended information before the Manila Regional Trial Court, adding that the US Embassy officials informed Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño about Aquino’s arrest in Newark.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo leaves it to the Department of Justice to work on the extradition of Aquino.
Aquino fled the country after the ouster of jailed ex-president Joseph Estrada.
The New York Times Coverage
FBI Intel Analyst Charged With Spying
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: September 13, 2005
Filed at 12:02 a.m. ET
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- An FBI intelligence analyst with top secret clearance was charged Monday with passing classified information about Filipino leaders to current and former officials of that nation.
The analyst, Leandro Aragoncillo, sent some of the material to Michael Ray Aquino, a former deputy director of the Philippines National Police who lives in New York City, according to an FBI complaint made public Monday.
Both men were arrested Saturday at their homes.
Aragoncillo, 46, of Woodbury, was hired to work at the Army's Fort Monmouth in July 2004 and began sending classified information and documents in January, according to the complaint.
From May to Aug. 15, Aragoncillo printed or downloaded 101 classified documents relating to the Philippines, of which 37 were classified ''secret,'' the complaint said. Details of the documents' contents were not disclosed in court papers or in court.
U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said there was no evidence that the
administration of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was involved, but he would not say if the suspects were in contact with opposition factions.
The Asian nation has been beset by persistent coup rumors since Arroyo was accused of rigging last year's elections.
Aquino is not related to former Philippine President Corazon Aquino.
Aragoncillo, a Marine for 21 years, and Aquino were ordered held without bail following an appearance before a federal magistrate.
After his arrest, Aragoncillo ''essentially admitted that he took classified information,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Karl H. Buch told the magistrate.
Aragoncillo, a Filipino who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, was suspended by the FBI on Monday. Leslie Wiser Jr., the special agent in charge of the FBI's New Jersey operations, said it was ''disheartening'' that one of the agency's workers faces such charges.
Christie would not say what motivated the suspects. In court, Buch said that Aragoncillo had $500,000 in debts and that Aquino had been investigated in the Philippines in connection with a conspiracy to murder two people.
The investigation began after Aquino, 39, was arrested in March, accused of overstaying the tourist visa he used to enter the country in July 2001.
The defendants face a charge of conspiracy and a charge of acting as unregistered foreign agents, the latter of which carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine. Aragoncillo also was charged with unauthorized use of a government computer, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine.
Both men were represented Monday by federal public defenders.
Two Men Are Charged With Passing Secrets to Philippines
By RONALD SMOTHERS
Published: September 13, 2005
NEWARK, Sept. 12 - A Federal Bureau of Investigation intelligence analyst and a former top Philippines law enforcement official were charged in federal court on Monday with espionage.
Arrested were the F.B.I. analyst, Leandro Aragoncillo, 46, of Woodbury, N.J., a naturalized United States citizen who was born in the Philippines, and Michael Ray Aquino, 39, of Queens, a former deputy director of the Philippines National Police under the government of the former president Joseph Estrada. The two men are accused of passing classified agency information to government officials in Manila in a case that appeared related to the Philippines' fractious internal politics.
According to affidavits by F.B.I. agents, Mr. Aragoncillo passed copies of classified F.B.I. documents about the Philippines to Mr. Aquino between February and August of this year by way of cellphone text messages and e-mail messages through Hotmail and Yahoo accounts.
Both men were ordered held without bail by United States Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz. Mr. Aquino, who was in the United States on an expired six-month tourist visa that was issued in 2001, also faces possible deportation.
Messages intercepted by investigators were heavily edited in the court affidavit but appeared to deal with F.B.I. information about the domestic political turmoil in the Philippines. The ultimate destination of the information, according to the court papers, were three unnamed public officials in the Philippines.
United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie declined to characterize the information that the two men are said to have passed. While the information did not involve terrorism or national security directly, he said: "Crimes like these strike at the heart of our national security because they involve our keeping our secrets secret. These defendants will face the full weight of federal prosecution."
Mr. Aquino has long been the subject of attempts by the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to link him with the 2000 kidnapping and slaying of a Manila public relations executive and his driver. While he has never been officially charged, Mr. Aquino has, in his absence, been at the center of several court proceedings to implicate him and a current opposition lawmaker, Senator Panfilo Lacson, in the 2000 crimes and other corruption charges.
Officials at the Philippines Embassy did not return two telephone calls seeking comment on the arrests and their possible implications for the country's politics.
Recent news reports from Manila have portrayed the Arroyo government as under political siege by a number of former Estrada administration officials and Senator Lacson, who have joined in a coalition with former members of Mrs. Arroyo's cabinet, the Catholic Church and supporters of the former president Corazón Aquino.
Mr. Aquino is not related to the former president.
According to United States Marine Corps records, Mr. Aragoncillo joined the corps in 1983 and served as a unit diary clerk for much of his 21 years in the service. He retired as an administration chief. During that time he was stationed in Japan, at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, and in the Quantico, Va., headquarters of the vice presidential security detail. He earned six good conduct medals and other citations.
Leslie G. Wiser Jr., the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.'s Newark office, said Monday that the agency's investigation of Mr. Aragoncillo began after he contacted American immigration officials on behalf of Mr. Aquino, who had overstayed his tourist visa. Mr. Aragoncillo identified himself to immigration officials as an F.B.I. employee, according to Mr. Wiser, and attempted to vouch for Mr. Aquino, who was facing deportation hearings.
Immigration officials notified the F.B.I., Mr. Wiser said, and the agency began an audit of Mr. Aragoncillo's computer activities.
Asked if Mr. Aragoncillo's motive was financial or political, Mr. Christie said early indications were that both were involved, but that the investigation was continuing.
U.S. Asks Manila to Uncover Suspected Spy Links
Published: September 13, 2005
Filed at 7:18 a.m. ET
MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has asked the Philippines to help it trace recipients of classified documents suspected to have been stolen by a former Filipino police officer and an FBI employee, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Michael Ray Aquino, a former top police official in the Philippines, and Leandro Aragoncillo, a Philippine-born U.S. citizen, were arrested in the United States on espionage charges on Saturday.
The Philippine foreign affairs department said in a statement that the charge sheet accused Aquino, a known ally of senior opposition politicians, of passing classified papers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to two "national level'' officials and one "former national level'' official in Manila.
"The FBI is now asking for our help to find out who received those documents here in the Philippines and who provided the money for the transaction,'' Reynaldo Wycoco, head of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), told reporters.
Wycoco said the information was a "classified assessment of the Philippine political situation and political leaders.''
According to affidavits from FBI agents, Aragoncillo passed classified documents about the Philippines to Aquino between February and August this year using cellphone text and e-mail messages.
The Philippines has been through months of political turmoil sparked by allegations of electoral fraud and graft against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who last week survived an impeachment attempt by the opposition.
Wycoco added that recipients of the classified documents could be indicted by U.S. or Philippine courts.
"Large amounts of money changed hands,'' Wycoco said, without giving specific details on the amount.
Aquino moved to the United States in 2001 after the ouster of former President Joseph Estrada in a military-backed popular uprising.
The Philippine foreign ministry said Aquino was arrested at his Queens residence in New York on Saturday and is being held at Passaic County Correctional while awaiting court hearings.
Former top cop nabbed for 'espionage' in US
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Sun Star (Philippines)
MANILA -- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed Tuesday the arrest on Monday of former police superintendent Michael Ray Aquino in New York City for alleged espionage.
NBI Interpol chief Ricardo Diaz said they received a report from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that Aquino, who is a licensed caregiver based in New York, and his suspected cohort FBI analyst Leandro Aragoncillo, a Filipino-American citizen, were arrested last September 12 for stealing classified documents related to the Philippines.
Aquino, who is now studying nursing, had long been a target of manhunt by Philippine authorities in connection with the alleged rubout of members of the "Kuratong Baleleng" gang and the abduction and murder of PR practitioner Bubby Dacer.
Diaz said it was Aragoncillo who downloaded 101 documents related to the government of the Philippines, 37 of which had been classified as "secret", and passed them on electronically to Aquino.
Aside from espionage, Aragoncillo, who works at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, will also be charged with illegal use of government facilities.
Under US rules, the penalty for espionage is equal to 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of not less than US$250,000. Espionage is a non-bailable offense, therefore Aquino's extradition is not an available remedy.
Following the report of the NBI, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. asked the US Embassy for more information and update on Aquino's arrest.
He said the classified information that Aquino allegedly downloaded might have "manifest political implications...detrimental to our government."
"Please be advised that we support the arrest and detention without bail of Mr. Aquino and would like to be furnished soonest with a summary of the documents downloaded by him so that the government can take necessary action under the circumstances," he said in a letter to Jeff Cole of the US Embassy in Manila.
Gonzalez further asked the US to notify the Philippine Government in case the investigation on Aquino and Aragoncillo reach trial.
"Should local personalities/politicians in the Philippines be mentioned, we request that we be furnished with the names," he added.
In a briefing, Gonzalez said it's possible that the FBI has been monitoring Aquino's movements since January this year.
"As far as I'm concerned, this has relations with current destabilization moves in the country. Why would Michael Ray Aquino fish for evidence and documents about the Philippine Government? Is he going to give it to someone? We know he wouldn't be gathering secret files if these won't be used against the government," he said, refusing to give out names but apparently alluding to Senator Panfilo Lacson. Aquino reported to Lacson during his tenure as PNP chief.
"I don't want to name names. We can't pinpoint anyone but its obvious that there are political figures involved," he added.
As the crime was committed in the US, Gonzalez said Aquino would be facing trial there. He could not be extradited unless, during trial, the FBI would reverse its findings.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it would extend consular service and legal assistance to Aquino.
The former police colonel and another fugitive police officer, Senior Superintendent Cesar Mancao, are charged with the murder of 11 members of the kidnap-for-ransom gang Kuratong Baleleng but the case against them was dismissed by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) for lack of probable cause. The case now remains pending before the Supreme Court (SC).
Last March, the NBI asked the FBI to facilitate the return of Aquino to the country after he was arrested in New York for violation of immigration laws.
No arrest warrant has been issued against Aquino although he was also charged with Dacer's murder in 2000. (ECV/Sunnex)
(September 14, 2005 issue)