PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Malacañang’s chief legal counsel has issued an opinion saying that former military spy Vidal Doble Jr. can be held criminally liable for revealing state secrets and for violating the Anti-Graft Law.
The chief presidential legal counsel said Doble could have violated laws governing military agents and public officials when he admitted wiretapping the conversation between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano Jr.
Presidential legal counsel Sergio Apostol said that Doble violated Article 229 of the Revised Penal Code, which bars any public officer from revealing state secrets, and Republic Act 3019 or Anti-Graft Practices, which punishes a public officer from divulging confidential information.
Apostol’s opinion came on the heels of a growing call for the Senate to stop its inquiry into the “Hello, Garci” scandal because Doble, as a primary witness, has perjured himself.
Senator Miriam Santiago joined the call for an end to the inquiry, saying that it would be a useless exercise. “ It appears that some of my colleagues have proposed to end the probe. If so, I have no objection,” Santiago told Senator Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the defense committee which is leading the three-panel inquiry.
Local executives have called on the Senate to terminate its investigation and focus instead on a common legislative agenda that aims to turn the Philippines into a First-World economy.
In a resolution, the League of Provinces of the Philippines declared that the revival of the inquiry is clearly a waste of legislative time and attention.
Misamis Occidental Gov. Leo Ocampos, league president, said this became evident following the perjurious statements of Doble during his maiden appearance last week.
Doble also contradicted the statements he made before the House of Representatives two years ago, in which he denied any involvement in the Hello Garci scandal; and the Senate last week, in which he admitted to have wiretapped prominent personalities during the 2004 election period.
Doble was also caught lying last week, when he claimed that he was held against his will at the headquarters of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 2005. Doble had testified under oath before Court of Appeal justices hearing his habeas corpus petition at that time that he had chosen to live inside the Isafp headquarters and was not being held prisoner there.
Contrary to Doble’sd claim that he was “kidnapped” and brought to the quarters of then Armed Forces Chief of Staff Efren Abu at the height of the wiretapping scandal in 2005, Balanga Bishop Socrates Villegas informed senators in a letter last week that it was Doble who had asked that he be taken to his family, who was inside Camp Aguinaldo at that time.