Palace denies coddling Lacson

Posted at 04/06/11 7:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Wednesday denied it is coddling Sen. Panfilo Lacson after he went into hiding for over a year after being linked to the Dacer-Corbito murder case.

In a press briefing, deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Lacson was accorded the same rights as everyone else.

"We've always accorded him what is  fair and what is due to everybody.  So, wala naman kinikilingan iyon...Wala namang naging coddling of any sort sa ilalim ng pamahalaang Aquino on this matter. And even the senator himself has openly said that he does not  feel, in any way at all, that he was given special treatment by the administration. That, in itself, should put to rest any allegations na nagkaroon ng special treatment doon sa nangyari kay Senator Lacson," she said.

Valte said there is no need for the President to order the Department of Justice to investigate Lacson over allegations that the senator used fake travel documents to return to the country.

"The Department of Justice is already on top of the situation, so we don't see a need for any further order if a department has already taken cognizance of something that is within its jurisdiction," she said.

Lacson went into hiding in January last year a month after he was implicated in the Dacer-Corbito murder case. The senator denied the charges and blamed political persecution by the former Arroyo government as a reason for his hiding.

He surfaced last month after the Court of Appeals junked the warrant for his arrest.

A member of the opposition earlier urged President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III today to “get to the bottom” of Lacson’s alleged use of fake travel documents.

Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said the Aquino administration should not condone the act “[since] a sitting senator violated the law of using fake documents.”

She said if Aquino fails to give this proper attention “then he is definitely coddling wrongful acts as long as it is done by his allies. Nasaan ngayon ang matuwid na daan?”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Philippine consulates abroad earlier said they did not issue any travel document to Senator Panfilo Lacson.

In a letter dated March 31, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis told Justice Secretary Leila de Lima “the DFA’s Property Division said that Philippine Travel Document with Serial Number 34258 is still with the department and has not yet been sent out to any particular post.”

Lacson supposedly used the travel document to return back to the country after more than a year in hiding.

“The Philippine Consulates General in Hong Kong, Macau, Xiamen and Guangzhou have denied issuing a travel document to Senator Lacson,” Seguis added.

The consulates there also stressed that the travel document with the same serial number “is not within the series of Philippine Travel Documents issued to them.” Report by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News