Someone leaked info to Ping

PNS — The Department of Justice (DoJ) yesterday admitted the big probability of information on the fugitive lawmaker regarding his whereabouts and the dates the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) special task force hunt him down, are being leaked to fugitive Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

A DoJ official said this may be the reason Lacson has been succeeding in avoiding arrest.

Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III pointed out that the possibility of the information on the arrest of Lacson being leaked cannot be discounted.

Baraan said it is highly probable that Lacson always manages to elude arrest, also because he is a former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), and such, the capability of the fugitive senator cannot be underestimated because of his knowledge on intelligence and counter police operations.

It could also be, Baraan said, that one of those hunting down Lacson is the person who leaks the information to the senator.

But he also said that there is a need for strong evidence to prove that information is being leaked out to Lacson.

At the same time, Justice officials are not taking seriously the suggestion of self-styled whistleblower Mary “Rosebud” Ong for the DoJ to issue a shoot- to-kill order on Lacson, who has refused to surface and Justice undersecretary Baraan, DoJ Officer-in-Charge (OIC) who explained that the government wants to arrest “Ping” alive and pointed out that the latter still enjoys the benefit of the doubt and is presumed innocent in his involvement in the abduction

and murderd of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito 10 years ago.

“But issuance of such (shoot to kill) order will be illegal under any circumstance,” said Baraan and stressed the fugitive senator is not yet convicted “We want him arrested alive because the lawmaker is not yet convicted in the celebrated double murder case. He has not even been arraigned,” Baraan told reporters.

He said the principle would only be applied if Lacson resists and decides to shoot it out with law enforcers.

Ong, a former police asset, made the shoot-to-kill proposal against Lacson over the weekend. Ong is one of Lacson’s bitter detractors.

Baraan reiterated that they are not ruling out the possibility that Lacson could have received advanced information from someone who is privy to the operation that government agents would be raiding his suspected hideouts.

Last week, the NBI raided a paper manufacturing firm said to be owned by a close friend of the senator but failed to find him there.

NBI operatives raided the Star Paper Corp. located at 46 Joy Street , Grace Village in Quezon City at 5 p.m. Friday.

Deputy Director for Intelligence Services lawyer Ruel Lasala said the establishment is reportedly owned by the senator’s close friend Sebastian Chua.

The NBI also conducted a raid in Tanauan, Batangas but failed to find the lawmaker.

He said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) cannot arrest Lacson but only the NBI and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Aside from the police teams created by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct a manhunt against Lacson, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has also formed a separate team for the immediate arrest of the former PNP chief.

DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo yesterday confirmed that the DILG teams are composed of PNP operatives and agents of the NBI.

Robredo explained that the tracker teams to arrest Lacson are different from the NBI agents who are also conducting manhunt operations against Lacson.

The DILG Secretary meanwhile noted that he did not issue any deadline for the tracker teams to catch Lacson, saying that it will only humiliate the operatives once they fail to meet the deadline.

It can be recalled that NBI operatives has failed to apprehended Lacson in its alleged hideout in Quezon City and 3 houses in Batangas over the weekend.

The PNP meanwhile earlier said that the police tracker teams will not hesitate to use force once they arrest Lacson and he resists arrest.

The elusive senator earlier sent feelers through his legal counsel that he will not surrender until justice is served as he asked the Department of Justice (DoJ) to conduct re-investigation in the Dacer-Corbito case so that the truth will come out.

Relatedly, even the DILG contradicted the statement issued by Mary Ong or Rosebud to issue shoot-to-kill order against Senator Lacson.

Robrero explained that it not right to issue such an order since Lacson is not yet convicted of the crime.