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Isafp agent in ‘Garci’ tapes resurfaces; Ping wants probe

August 21, 2007 5:00pm
(Updated 7:10 p.m.) A former intelligence agent of the Armed Forces revealed on Tuesday the details of “Project Lighthouse," an alleged a military operation to wiretap administration and opposition politicians during the 2004 elections. Sen. Panfilo Lacson played an interview of Air Force T/Sgt. Vidal Doble Jr, a former military agent, during a privilege speech in the Senate.

Doble claimed that "Project Lighthouse" was implemented from September 2003 to April 2005 by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He claimed that among the targets of the wiretapping operation were the late Fernando Poe Jr, who was then running for president, former Agrarian Reform secretary Horacio Morales Jr, Poe supporter Rez Cortez, alleged members of the so-called Magdalo Group, including Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV Sen. Gregorio Honasan.

Also monitored were Michael Defensor, President Arroyo’s chief of staff during that time, and Virgilio Garcillano, former commissioner of the Commission on Elections.

Doble's claim prompted Lacson to call for a Senate investigation into the so-called "Hello, Garci!" scandal, allegedly a plot to cheat during the 2004 presidential elections.

Lacson also wanted to investigate the involvement of telecommunications companies. He said the wiretapping of the politicians could not have been possible without the help of telephone companies.

The lawmaker said Doble failed to immediately surface when the controversy first broke out in June 2005 because his family was kidnapped in Kidapawan. Doble’s family members were later detained in the basement of Gen. Efren Abu’ official residence, Lacson claimed. Abu is former Armed Forces Chief of Staff.

Doble "was obviously not a free man" when he was summoned by a congressional inquiry during that time, Lacson said.

"This is extremely alarming - that elements of the Isafp could eavesdrop with ease on the conversations of whomsoever they choose, or whomsoever they are ordered to spy upon," Lacson said.

Security issues

"The intelligence project itself is a paradox. For, it was not the lighthouse that we know. It was the lighthouse that brought darkness into this benighted land," Lacson said.

Lacson also questioned the participation of officers of the Armed Forces to cover up the alleged crime by reportedly threatening vital witnesses. He said some of those who got involved in the scandal were even promoted in the service.

Lacson said he will initiate a Senate investigation into how "the noble profession of arms to protect the sovereign people has been so debased by the political leadership."

He asked that the Committee on National Defense and Security to handle the investigation.

"Mr Vidal Doble Jr has assured me that he would attend if summoned," he said.

Lacson also challenged Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento to pursue the investigation into the "Hello Garci" controversy.

“Hopefully…you could be instrumental in redeeming the Comelec from its present image," Lacson said. - GMANews.TV
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