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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Panfilo "Ping" Lacson


Panfilo "Ping" Lacson
Born June 1, 1948

Official Website: http://www.pinglacson.com.ph

A retired Director-General of the Philippine National Police, and is currently a member of the Philippine Senate.

Personal life

Ping is the child of Buenaventura and Maxima “Lola Imang” Lacson, 87, (who died on November 3, 2008, at Bayang Luma, Imus, Cavite) and children Romy, Eli, Rey, Ping, Nani, Ito Neneng and Tina. His father Buenaventura died on November 18, 2008. Ping, as what many people call him, is married to Alice de Perio. Television personality Jodi Sta. Maria is his daughter-in-law, being married to Panfilo "Pampi" Lacson, Jr., one of his four sons. Jodi and Panfilo Jr. have a son, Panfilo "Thirdy" Lacson III.

Early life and studies

Born in Imus, Cavite, Lacson finished grade school at the Bayang Luma Elementary School in 1960, and high school at the Imus Institute in 1964. He took up Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at the Lyceum of the Philippines University. In 1967, he enrolled at Philippine Military Academy. He was given a commission in the Philippine Constabulary after his graduation in 1971. He earned a postgraduate degree of Master in Government Management from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 1996.

Early police career

Lacson worked at the Metropolitan Command (Metrocom) Intelligence and Security Group (1971-1986), PC-INP Anti-Carnapping Task Force (1986-1988), as Provincial Commander of the Province of Isabela (1988-1989), as Commander of Cebu Metrodiscom (1989-1992), and as Provincial Director of the Province of Laguna (February to July 1992). He was then appointed to the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission as Chief of the Task Force Habagat from 1992 to 1995). From 1996 to April 1997, he was project officer of Special Project Alpha.

During the Estrada administration

Lacson headed the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) as Chief (June 26, 1998-January 21, 2001) as well as the Philippine National Police PNP Director-General, (November 16, 1999-January 20, 2001). Shortly after the second EDSA People Power Revolution, he submitted his resignation as Chief of the PNP to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a day after she took her oath.

Revival of the Kuratong Baleleng murder case

In 1995, the PACC was linked to the killing of 11 members of Kuratong Baleleng in Quezon City. In 2003, the High Tribunal ordered the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to try the case against Lacson and 33 other police officials. The trial court however dismissed the criminal case, finding absence of probable cause. The special prosecuting team later moved for new trial before the High Tribunal to remand case to the trial court to present new evidence against Senator Lacson, inter alia. On May 2, 2008, the Supreme Court of the Philippines resolved to take cognizance of the motion of the families of the slain Kuratong Baleleng members for revival of the murder case against police officials and Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Dacer trial

After eight years of self-exile in the United States, Sabina and Carina Dacer, on July 11, 2008 testified before the Manila Regional Trial Court, regarding the mastermind of the abduction of their father, Bobby Dacer. Sabina swore that: "In his exact words he said, 'mga anak, kung may mangyari sa akin, walang ibang may kakagawan noon kundi si Ping Lacson'" (translated: my children, if anything should happen to me, no one else could be responsible but Ping Lacson). Dacer's family also discovered the publicist's letter to Joseph Estrada on Panfilo Lacson's 1999 actuations to secure the Philippine National Police chief post. Dacer was the publicist of then PNP chief Roberto Lastimoso, Lacson's rival. Lacson's link to one of the suspects, Michael Ray Aquino, were also evident according to the Dacer witnesses.

Lacson denied the allegations: "For the nth time, I will assert the truth that I had nothing to do with it. They can lie and make people lie even under oath and before a court of law to make me look bad and guilty in the Dacer case. In fact, right after Dacer disappeared, the family sought my help.... And I responded the way I should as a law enforcement officer at that time."

Former police senior superintendent Cezar Mancao also named Lacson as the mastermind of the murders of Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito. The allegations were made in an affidavit that Mancao signed on February 14, 2009, according to The Philippine Star. Mancao was allegedly present when Lacson gave the hit order to then police senior superintendent Michael Ray Aquino sometime in October 2000.

Lacson denied these allegations, stating that the Office of the President had pressured Mancao to sign the affidavit.

In an interview by Inquirer.net, Transportation Undersecretary Reynaldo Berroya said that Dacer possessed documents showing Lacson was earning billions of pesos from stock manipulation. Berroya was chief of the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group at the time of the murders.

Dacer and Corbito were abducted the morning of November 24, 2000, while on their way to the Manila Hotel. Investigations later showed that the two were interrogated, tortured and strangled to death, and their bodies burned.

Entry to politics

Lacson ran for the position of senator in the 2001 elections running under the LDP and affiliated with the Puwersa ng Masa coalition. He won a seat in the Senate, ranking 10th. In the 2007 senatorial elections, he ranked third.

In the Senate, Lacson primarily authored the following measures:

  • Republic Act No. 9160, as amended by Republic Act 9194, otherwise known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act
  • Republic Act No. 9163, The National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001
  • Republic Act No. 9166, An Act Increasing the Base Pay of the Members of the AFP
  • Republic Act No. 9208, The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003
  • Republic Act No. 9416, Anti-Cheating Act of 2007
  • Republic Act No. 9484, The Philippine Dental Act of 2007
  • Republic Act No. 9485, Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007

He was also one of the co-authors of the following laws:

  • Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002
  • Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as the Absentee Voting Act
  • Republic Act No. 9287, otherwise known as the Anti-Jueteng and Illegal Numbers Game
  • Republic Act No. 9406, An Act Reorganizing the Public Attorney's Office



2004 Presidential election

Lacson ran for President in the 2004 general election against the incumbent President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. His candidacy stirred disagreements with its party president, Edgardo Angara. The COMELEC decided to follow what was done in the Quirino-Avelino case splitting the certificates of votes into half. Angara appealed the case before the Supreme Court and reversed the COMELEC decision.

Lacson resigned from the party upon hearing the news. He continued campaigning and in the elections, he finished third, ahead of the late Raul Roco and Bro. Eddie Villanueva.

Manila mayoralty election

In late 2006, Lacson said he may run as mayor of the city of Manila in the 2007 midterm elections. However, a month after the announcement, he rescinded that decision and will instead run for re-election for a second Senate term.

On May 20, 2008, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that Lacson planned to join the PDP-Laban party, a move seen as a preparation for his second attempt for the presidency in 2010.

Exposes

Garci tapes

On August 21, 2007, Lacson sought an investigation by the Senate Committees on National Defense and Security. During a privilege speech, Lacson played a taped interview of Vidal Doble, formerly of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp). Doble stated that "Project Lighthouse" (September 2003 to April 2005), targeted several personalities. He said he came out only now since he is already a civilian and he did not see any action against cheating in the 2004 and 2007 elections.

An insider of Smart Communications worked with the Isafp in wiretapping political leaders during the 2004 elections, and Smart admitted it was possible that an employee coordinated with Isafp. Vidal Doble said two of his former superiors at the "Project Lighthouse" operation – Col. Paul Sumayo and Capt. Frederick Rebong – "coordinated" with a "recruit" and contact inside Smart. Ramon Isberto of Smart, said - "This first came out two to three years ago. The company has not participated in any efforts to monitor conversations." Speechless wiretappers: Doble said he and everybody else involved in "Project Lighthouse" were shocked to hear President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo speak with former Virgilio Garcillano about the rigging of poll results. Doble said "Project Lighthouse" had 14 members divided into four teams - "All of the teams knew about the conversation of PGMA (Arroyo) and commissioner Garcillano." Doble revealed those who gave the order to launch "Project Lighthouse": Western Command (Wescom) chief Vice Admiral Tirso Danga, former deputy chief of staff for intelligence; Brigadier Gen. Marlou Quevedo, former Isafp chief; Army Col. Allen Capuyan, former head of the Isafp's special operations group; and "down the line" the project "group commander" Col. Sumayo; Capt. Rebong; and Capt. Lindsay Rex Sagge.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. linked Senator Panfilo Lacson to the February 6, 2005 Coup d'├ętat plot. Esperon said that the February 2006 "diamond statement" document seized from rebel soldiers mentioned Lacson and touched on "who would lead the country should the rebel soldiers succeed in toppling the government."

ZTE broadband deal

On September 11, 2007, Lacson delivered a privilege speech where he bared irregularities involving the government's national broadband network project, with Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corp. bagging the contract.

Lacson said that in the Special Joint Investment Coordinating Committee (ICC) and Technical Board Meeting of the President’s Cabinet held on March 26, 2007, the Department of Transportation and Communications took up with the economic team, particularly Finance Sec. Margarito Teves and then NEDA Director-General Romulo Neri along with their support staff, the NBN project, which was conceptualized in view of the Cyber-Corridor Initiative enunciated by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during her State of the Nation Address on July 2006.

In his speech, he said that November 21, 2006 while presiding over a NEDA Board meeting which she chairs, President Arroyo laid down the following conditions for a government broadband network:

  • It should be established along a build-operate-transfer or such similar undertaking using private funding;
  • There should be no government subsidies;
  • There should be no “take or pay” conditionalities and instead a “pay for use” facility;
  • And it should result in a substantial reduction of government telecommunications expenses

But in the ICC meeting with DOTC and Telecommunications Office (TELOF) proponents on March 26, 2007, what was presented as the NBN Project completely changed the broad terms of reference set by President Arroyo in November 2006.

What Assistant Secretaries Lorenzo G. Formoso III and Elmer Soneja presented for ICC consideration was an NBN project that would cost the Republic of the Philippines an estimated 19.4 billion pesos of which 19 billion would be sourced through foreign loans, and 380 million pesos from the DOTC/Telof budgets. It would involve the utilization of Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP-based single infrastructure network.

Then NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri, now Social Security System head, pointedly wondered how savings could be generated on the retirement of the obsolete analog system carried by Telof.

Yet, Neri signed a letter dated April 20, 2007, addressed to China’s Minister Bo Xilai of Commerce, and Li Ruogu, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of China, nominating the NBN Project. This was a day before the President witnessed the signing ceremony of the NBN Supply Contract with DOTC and ZTE executives in Hainan, China. |title="What is right must be kept right; what is wrong must be set right" |publisher=Sen. Ping Lacson: Legacy of Corruption |author=Posted by Sen. Ping Lacson