Lacson warns minority congressmen: Watch your back

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 1) — Senator Ping Lacson has a warning for members of the House of Represenatives.

Lacson, a critic of former President and newly elected House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, noted the identity of the new sergeant-at-arms. Retired General Romeo Prestoza, the Chief of the Presidential Security Group under Arroyo, was elected to the post on Monday.

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"I would warn the members of the House to be wary... because this is an intelligence-trained officer and baka may purpose lang [there might be a purpose]," Lacson told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"Doon sa mga kaibigan ko sa House [To my friends at the House] — especially members of the minority that are not with the company union, they should watch their back," he added.

While Arroyo has risen as Speaker, the House minority bloc is divided into three factions, each claiming to be the true minority. Incumbent Minority Leader and Arroyo ally Danilo Suarez refuses to give up his post despite his support for the Speaker.

Lacson was charged with murder in 2010, after which he fled the country. He said he was "a victim of a conspiracy of whispers" between Arroyo and the Department of Justice. He returned when Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III won the presidency.

He went on to explain that Prestoza approached a former police officer, Cezar Mancao, to pressure him to testify against Lacson.

"It cannot be helped na ganito ako mag-isip [that I think like this] because of what I experienced," he said. "Mancao told me na pinangakuan sya reinstatement, promotion, family resettlement and everything, basta mag-execute ng affidavit against me. No matter... kung made-up yung testimony basta kailangan... implicate ako."

[Translation: Mancao told me that he was promised reinstatement, a promotion, a family resettlement and everything, as long as he exhibits an affidavit against me. No matter... if the testimony is made-up... as long as I am implicated.]

 

Lacson said that he has since "made peace" with Arroyo during the Congress bicameral conference on the proposed national ID system.

"After we reconciled all the provisions, we shook hands and to me, we made up and we made peace," he said.

However, the senator said while he would forgive — he would not forget.

"I've often quoted President Kennedy na forgive your enemies, but don't forget their names," he continued. "That's what I am [doing] right now. I've not forgotten all the names of those who made my life miserable for the past nine years under the Arroyo administration."