Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cui bono?

The same media outlets that led the campaign against President Estrada in the run-up to Edsa II are again taking charge of spinning the so-called “twists and turns” in the Dacer-Corbito case. Not that they’ve had a “balanced” track record to begin with, but the fixation of Newsbreak and the Inquirer on the currently revived murder mystery more than begs the question: Cui bono? 

In all their articles, the assumption that Estrada is the chief beneficiary of the twin-crimes is being held as gospel truth. Yet they have never explored other angles seriously, nor have they truly presented to the public the identities of those who clearly benefitted since this Dacer-Corbito case became fodder for Estrada’s overthrow. 

Undoubtedly, the past eight or nine years should have clearly impressed upon anyone that Estrada had the least to gain for doing Dacer in. First off, Estrada never felt his administration to be under any real danger of ouster since he had an incontrovertible mandate from the people; thus, one alleged scandal would not have fazed him, much less led him to contemplate murder. Proof of this sense of self-assurance and equanimity was his pacifist response to the “evil society” mob’s incessant threats of violence, as arrogantly relayed by then Edsa II gofer Renato de Villa. 

Then, despite his being the repeated target of slings and arrows throughout his long, distinguished career in film and public service, President Estrada has not once known to have responded with violence. If ever he’d gotten involved in some fisticuffs one way or another during his youth, these were only for his protection of the weak, like in his stance against a burly foreign student in the Ateneo to defend a bullied classmate, or in his fights with a gang that blackmailed his movie industry colleagues (for which he teamed up with FPJ). Moreover, looking back at Estrada’s record, one will see that he has been a stickler for the law--from his election cases in San Juan where he was cheated out of victory once but eventually won on a recount, to his detentions under Marcos’ rule. 

So did Estrada have anything to gain from Dacer’s “disappearance”? The insinuation is that Dacer knew a lot about the alleged BW stock manipulation scam and was about to spill the beans. However, if, after seven years, the Sandiganbayan--a Kangaroo court at that--and the prosecution were unable to turn up anything solid, what could Dacer have had? 

If we grant that Dacer really did have something on Estrada and thus, feared for his life, as FVR’s consigliore Joe Almonte claims from a Dacer letter he supposedly received, wouldn’t Dacer have had this “proof” tucked away in some safe place, only to be released if something happened to him? Plus, if Estrada had any taint of guilt in the sordid crime, wouldn’t he have grabbed the twice offered exile to any country of his choice extended by Arroyo through then DoJ chief Nani Perez? 

If the Inquirer’s Volt Contreras or Newsbreak’s Aries Rufo were really intent on getting to the bottom of the Dacer-Corbito mystery, shouldn’t they also have looked into all these other angles? By the way, the public might also want to ask the owners and funding sources of these two news organizations the same “cui bono” question because haven’t they also benefitted immensely from Estrada’s fall? Could this be the reason why these two outfits are not intent on pursuing any other angle? 

My NBI sources reminded me that the bones retrieved from the alleged site of the Dacer-Corbito immolation-murder, as well as, DNA tests of the samples attest to the fact that these are not human skeletal remains. The substitution of skeletal evidence has had a long history in the PNP, such as the “1980’s Leyte Killing Fields” used to prosecute Satur Ocampo but which a self-confessed police asset cum Rajah Solaiman “jihadist” cum Norberto Gonzales special ops agent exposed in 2007 as bones dug up from a Manila cemetery. For sure, the “fake” Dacer-Corbito bones issue will be brought out by the Ping Lacson camp in the legal counter-offensives to come, as with the other contradictions my previous column raised. 

Additionally, “cui bono” may also be asked of former president Fidel V. Ramos. Wasn’t he under investigation for a long list of crimes against the Republic--from the Centennial Scam, to the AFP Modernization Fund disappearance, to the PEA-Amari scam, to the Smokey Mountain construction scam, ad nausea? Wasn’t Dacer also operating for him and for the forces aiming to destabilize and depose the Estrada government? In colloquial Filipino, Dacer was what was described as “lagareng hapon” or a two-edged cutting saw who played both sides. Estrada insiders say that at the Dacer-Estrada meeting, the two long-time compadres renewed their bosom friendship and Dacer had resumed his duties for Estrada. If this scenario is true, then it is quite likely that it was FVR who felt grievously betrayed by Dacer. 

FVR did “protest too much” and too early, even before the Dacer family got alarmed by their father’s “disappearance.” As for Dacer’s letter to Almonte expressing fears for his own safety, that Newsbreak list of letters should show just how paranoid Dacer was in conjuring real or imagined persecution from a long list of people. When Dacer disappeared, the destabilizers of Estrada went to town with the sensational crime and suspense case. So who benefitted from that? Certainly not Estrada. Think about it… 

To be concluded on Friday