Press Release
December 30, 2006


What wrong have the Filipino people done to deserve a double whammy from the Arroyo government during the holiday season?

Sen. Panfilo Lacson posed this question following the sudden transfer of convicted L/Cpl Daniel Smith from the Makati City Jail to the US Embassy, one week after government prosecutors made public their clearing of former poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano of perjury charges.

Garci and Smith are GMAs holiday gifts to the Filipino people. While cooling herself with husband Mike in Baguio City, her gang leaders in Manila were executing her orders to extricate Garcillano and L/Cpl Daniel Smith from the fix they were in, Lacson said.

With the latest incident, Lacson reiterated his call to the people not to surrender the countrys sovereignty and dignity, even in the face of a threatening super power. If like Mrs. Arroyo we cave in to this threat, we have no business talking about self-respect and love for our country, he said.

While Nicole is not exactly considered the ideal Filipina, she ceased becoming the issue the moment Judge Benjamin Pozon handed down his verdict last Dec. 4. Rather, it is now the national dignity and sovereignty that have been trampled upon, thanks but no thanks to Mrs. Arroyo, he added.

He said the developments involving Garcillano and Smith took place during the holiday season, when people are preoccupied with the holidays and are not fully aware of important issues concerning the nation.

In the case of Garcillano, Lacson noted government prosecutors cleared him of perjury charges but kept quiet about it, until the weekend before Christmas when people were busy preparing to celebrate the holidays.

As if that were not enough, Lacson said, Mrs. Arroyos henchmen chose the weekend before the New Year to spring Smith from jail and without the required court order to boot.

Making Smiths transfer a worse gift, he said, was that the Court of Appeals ruled last Dec. 18 that Smith remain at the Makati City Jail until it resolves the issue of Smiths custody. Friday nights transfer was a direct violation of that order, he said.

While Garcillanos clearing was a slap on the peoples intelligence, Smiths sudden transfer was not only a slap to the judiciary. It was no less than a rape of our Constitution, of our laws, and of the judicial branch of government, he said.

Lacson added the Arroyo government has much at stake with Garcillano as it cannot let him spill the beans on poll cheating in the 2004 elections. It also cannot afford to lose the United States military support by allowing Smith to stay in jail.

But Mrs. Arroyo forgets she has much at stake with the Filipino people as well, and she may get her payback in the May 14, 2007 elections sooner than she thinks, he said.

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