HELICOPTER deal whistleblower Rhodora Alvarez who was code-named “Joey” in The Manila Times expose on Thursday claimed that an official of the Department of National Defense (DND) linked to an alleged anomaly attempted to ‘intercept’ her in a radio program where she was supposed to guest in.
Alvarez said she was invited by radioman Gerry Baja to the late-afternoon “Dos Por Dos” program, which Baja co-hosts with TV personality Anthony Taberna.
Baja had initially interviewed Alvarez by phone patch early Thursday morning, the day after she appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee and presented her case against Defense and military officials who were allegedly involved in the P1.2- billion helicopter acquisition deal.
It was during the morning interview where Baja invited Alvarez to come over to radio station dzMM located within the ABS-CBN broadcast center in Quezon City.
Alvarez said she arrived earlier than the “call time” to avoid traffic.
She then saw Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo along with his security detail pulling up at ABS-CBN, with the official heading directly to the radio station’s broadcast booth.
Alvarez claimed that Baja himself was surprised at Manalo’s presence.
“Now I’m convinced that SND [Secretary of National Defense Voltaire] Gazmin is behind all the chopper deal anomalies. I arrived at the ABS-CBN area two hours before my appointed time, even ahead of Gerry Baja. But when he was told that I was already there, he rushed to the station and spoke to his executive producer who in turn instructed me when and which gate will I get in,” Alvared narrated to The Times.
Baja then called Alvarez and informed her that Manalo was already inside the radio station.
“Hindi daw nya alam kung bakit nandoon, baka daw guest sa iba, sabi nya, pero teka parang gustong pumasok, standby lang daw ako. Mamaya tumawag uli si Gerry at sinabi na pumasok na nga daw sa Dos Por Dos [Gerry said he did not know why Manalo was there, maybe, Gerry also said, Manalo could be a guest in another radio program, but it looked like Manalo wanted to enter the Dos Por Dos booth, Gerry told me to stand by.
Later, Gerry called again and told me that Manalo entered the Dos Por Dos booth]” she said.
Alvarez also claimed that Manalo’s security aides were all over the place and were obviously out to stop her from getting inside.
“I’m the show’s guest but it was Manalo who slipped in. That’s bullying. They prevented my entry and I feel so harassed,” she said.
When sought to confirm Alvarez’s claim, Baja on Friday said that while the incident did happen, it was just a case of miscommunication.
He confirmed that Manalo did come to the radio program but those behind the show had not been told about it.
In a text message, Baja said the DND had requested that Taberna interview Manalo in Dos Por Dos but the executive producer and the production assistants were not informed about the request.
He added that Taberna was not able to coordinate with their executive producer because he had to tape another show.
“We just decided to accommodate [Undersecretary] Manalo that day and have Miss Alvarez today [Friday],” Baja said.