THE Liberal Party (LP) has reportedly tapped the services of former associates of a powerful law firm to mount an operation to ensure the victory of the ruling party’s standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd by getting rid of his opponents–Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe.
“The agenda is to apply their full might and influence to have Grace disqualified while making sure that Binay is put behind bars,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Vice President’s spokesman has claimed that they had received information about such a “black operation” as early as last year.
On the other hand, a source from the camp of Poe and Sen. Francis Escudero said the camp of Roxas “will move heaven and earth” to have Poe disqualified.
Poe and Binay are frontrunners in recent pre-election presidential surveys while Roxas trails them.
“We are aware of this operation, which is becoming more obvious by the day. A few senators I talked to confirmed this. Binay will be jailed before the elections,” said the source, a lawyer.
Joey Salgado, one of Binay’s spokesmen, said they are similarly aware of such “dark” legal operations, which involve powerful people in the Office of the Ombudsman and even the Supreme Court (SC).
“Yes, we know that. We have been informed as early as last year that that would be their endgame [to jail Binay]. Based on our intelligence, the tactic is being principally done by associates of an influential law firm that has tentacles in the [Office of the] Ombudsman,” Salgado told The Manila Times.
According to the source from Poe’s camp, the influential lawyers are Avelino “Nonong” Cruz and former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, former associates of “The Firm,” or the defunct Carpio Villaraza Angcangco or CVC Law.
“Avelino Cruz and partner Simeon Marcelo are the ones behind the drive,” the source insisted.
The Manila Times asked Salgado if he was referring to the same people but he was evasive. “That is all I can say for now,” he said.
“Remember Hyatt 10? It was actually Hyatt 11. Nonong Cruz was with them,” the source noted.
When members of the so-called Hyatt 10 broke free from the Cabinet of former President Gloria Arroyo, Cruz was the Defense chief. He eventually left office.
While “The Firm” may no longer be in existence, Times sources claimed CVC Law remains influential because it has “contacts” inside the Ombudsman’s office and SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is still with them.
“Carpio is their former law firm partner but secretly still active,” another source said.
Recently, Carpio issued a statement against Poe’s citizenship, which is the basis of a number of disqualification cases lodged against the lawmaker.
“They know that the only way for Roxas to defeat Grace is by disqualifying her and the only way for Binay to fail is for him to be in jail. That is their main agenda. Sen. [Miriam Defensor] Santiago was forced to run so that in the end, according to their plan, she and Roxas will slug it out in the polls. With an opponent in Miriam, Mar’s win, if they succeed, will legitimize results of the elections,” the source explained.
The Manila Times tried to get a reaction from Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. but he begged off, saying he is on official mission to the Unesco General Assembly. The same query was sent to Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda but there was no reply.
Meanwhile, Escudero admitted that he has been receiving information about the alleged “black ops” against Poe and said he was not surprised.
The senator added that there was indeed information about the demolition campaign against Poe but their camp opted not to dwell on it, focusing instead on other more important matters that will benefit the people.
“I’m not surprised if there is indeed a ‘black ops’ against her, what I don’t understand is why they need to resort to such operation,” Escudero, Poe’s running mate, said.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA