Press Release
January 21, 2006

Urges the Senate oversight committee on intelligence fund and operations to continue probe

Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, expresses alarm over the number of public officials and military personnel as well as civilians who have professed to have been wiretapped by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

Last year, allegations of illegal wiretapping were not taken seriously by authorities and were even downplayed as mere accusations or even just hearsay. But now that the subjects of the alleged wiretapping have been coming out in the open one after the other, this issue should be looked into even more closely, says Villar.

The Senate activated its select oversight committee on intelligence and confidential funds last year as an offshoot of the investigation of Villars committee of the raid in the San Mateo residence of Segundo Tabayoyong in response to Senate Resolution 318 filed by Senate Minority Leader Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. that authorized the committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs to investigate, in aid of legislation, the seizure by combined operatives of the Armed Forces of election paraphernalia.

Even during that hearing last year, ISAFP officials or resource persons were not able to clearly explain what really transpired during the said raid and their statements or stories were inconsistent. It is important for us to protect our civil liberties. Many, it seems, are taking advantage of the political turmoil and routinely putting people under surveillance, cites Villar, Vice Chairman of the Senates Oversight Committee on Intelligence and Confidential Funds.

Villar further cites, Even I have been warned and informed by people to be among a number of politicians to be under surveillance. It should not be acceptable to any citizen of the country to be put under surveillance, especially if she or he is not an enemy of the state. We should be vigilant against any violation of our civil liberties at all times.

Just like last year, the senators are expected to again look closely into the funds for intelligence and confidential programs of the government allocated under the proposed P1.03-trillion national budget for this year. The Senate Committee of the Whole is still conducting deliberations on the proposed 2006 budget.

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