Lacson: Now Even Lotto Used as Come-On in Smear Drive

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson deplored on Monday Malacañang’s latest smear drive against him, this time using primetime lotto draws on government-run and government-sequestered television as the newest come-ons. 

Lacson noted the smear drive, involving discredited so-called witnesses who linked him to various “crimes,” was aired before the lotto draws of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

“There is only one reason for such a smear campaign against me. I have been relentless in exposing and pursuing graft-ridden transactions involving this government,” Lacson said.

He said the list of corruption-tainted cases involving the Arroyo government went back to her first month in Malacañang in 2001, with a $14-million commission for a contract with Argentinean power firm IMPSA .

A second case took place also in 2001, when Mrs. Arroyo tried to demand from telecommunications expert Pacifico Marcelo 55 percent of his telecommunications operations, and hounded him when he refused.

Other “well-known” graft-ridden cases included the P1.1-billion Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard project; the Jose Pidal bank accounts; the distribution of jueteng money for her presidential run in the 2004 elections; the P728-million fertilizer scam; the “Hello Garci” scandal; and the $329.48-million national broadband network deal with China’s ZTE Corp.

Lacson noted that in exposing and pursuing these scandals, Malacañang had hounded and harassed him no end.

“I am not at all surprised with Malacañang’s continued attempts to discredit me, especially on the eve of the resumption of Senate hearings on the $329.48-million ZTE broadband deal mess. But I will say this: Malacañang certainly outdid itself this time in terms of low blows,” Lacson said.

The discredited witnesses presented during the program have long lost their credibility, Lacson said. He said their “appearance” was obviously timed as viewers are anticipating the lotto draw on government-run NBN-4 and other sequestered networks.

He said viewers were forced to wait for the lotto draw while the administration paid hacks tried to discredit him. Crawlers at the lower part of the screen asked viewers to “wait” for the lotto draw to air. Lacson is due to present on Tuesday a “surprise” witness whom he said can provide more details on the broadband deal mess.

“All these are part of yet another attempt to disrupt the investigation into the broadband deal mess, especially now that the mess is heading right for Malacañang’s doorstep. I will not be surprised if Mrs. Arroyo and her spin masters will continue to try to discredit me. The question is, how much lower will they go?” Lacson said.