Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eh-hum # 184

And the plot thickens.

I've read about this before, and now its final: Leandro Aragoncillo, a Filipino FBI analyst and former marine/vice-presidential aide was sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage after he admitted supplying classified information/documents to PGMA's political rivals, which includes deposed president Josseph Estrada and opposition senator Panfilo Lacson. Aragoncillio is not alone, as Michael Ray Aquino, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) official likewise pleaded guilty for taking the said documents from Aragoncillo and passing them to PNP officials who are (or were, since they will be denying these charges) anti-GMA. Aquino, who gets six years, is said to be an associate of Panfilo Lacson.

In this case, the sentencing is just (Aragoncillo is lucky, he was spared from facing the death penalty) and I am on the side of the federal prosecuters. Two important issues are invovled: the illegal transfer of classified information and using said information to destabilize another sovereign state. Information nowadays is as deadly as any weapon, and this whole mess would've (further?) endangered the national security situation of the countries invovled, as well as their diplomatic and defense relations. Perhaps like most Filipinos who have heard of this news, I am disappointed with Aragoncillo. Prior to his sentence, he had a respectable career in the US. Race has nothing to do with this; it was all about breaking the trust bestowed upon him by the FBI/US government because he decided to be involved in the grimy facet of Philippine politics by stealing information.

I would assume that the prosecutors in the Erap Estrada corruption case would use this to their advantage. And as of the news yesterday, DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzales has asked the US Attorney General's office for copies of "all pertinent legal and testimonial testimonies" which will be used in a case against Aragoncillo and Aquino's co-conspirators, whom Gonzales described as being "national figures" in the Philippine government. That would mean Lacson and former House Speaker Arnuflo Fuentebella, since Estrada is already under house arrest (yeah, right). We'll see how this I said, the plot thickens in the drama that is Philippine politics, starring pro-GMA and anti-GMA factions (with civil society miserably stuck in between. Haaayyyy).

I end this with questions and more questions. The answers may be obvious, but we won't really know, do we? Eh-hum. Who convinced Aragoncillo to do such a crime (risking his career)? Or is it possible that he was acting on his own accord (hmmm...)? What kind of information/documents did he passed to Estrada, Lacson and Fuentebella? Why would the US government would have such information on PGMA, who is an outspoken ally of the US? This is yet again another wake-up call for PGMA to shape-up. Fine, Aragoncillo ang Aquino will serve their time in jail. But, with the realization that the FBI has information on her that could proved to be damaging to her administration plus the connections her rivals have, PGMA should keep her friends close and her enemies closer (hmmm, this tag is from a movie...) and take all allegations against her seriously.

Hmph, wonder WHY people want to become presidents in the first place (don't answer that).

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