Thursday, April 11, 2013

US envoy doubted murder probe on Jack Enrile

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Marcos government's alleged half-hearted investigation into Juan Ponce "Jack" Enrile Jr.'s involvement in the killing of the son of a former Philippine Navy chief in 1975 left a bitter aftertaste in the mouth of the United States' top envoy to Manila, according to declassified diplomatic cables published online by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks on Monday.
 Then US Ambassador to Manila William H. Sullivan, in a cable to the Department of State, said although then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile promised not to influence the Ernest Lucas, Jr. case, the "handling of homicide charges against Enrile, Jr., appears rather rank." "Jackie did not even appear in person at hearings since he was 'attending classes,'" Sullivan said on cable 1975MANILA14151_b that was earlier released on public domain by the US government in 2006. He said the younger Enrile, who was accused of involvement in the Lucas killing, was not even interrogated and government investigators only relied on his deposition.
 The younger Enrile, who is now running for senator in the May midterm elections, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the death of Lucas.
 Enrile told ANC earlier that Lucas' death was accidental after his bodyguard, Danilo Cruz, accidentally shot the Navy chief’s son during a party. Sullivan relayed to Washington the facts in the Lucas killing. "On September 20, young Lucas escorted his sister to party in San Lorenzo Village in Makati at which Enrile, Jr., present. Lucas reportedly asked to be admitted as well but was told party private," he said. "Lucas and three companions later returned to pick up Lucas's sister. During unexplained altercation, Lucas was shot in the head by Enrile, Jr.'s security guard.
He died 5 hours later." In another cable to Washington, Sullivan quoted US embassy sources in the National Bureau of Investigation "both the Enrile boy and his bodyguard are liable to prosecution." The US ambassador, in cable 1975MANILA13806_b, said unnamed "NBI sources have told us unequivocally... that Enrile's son did the shooting." "We also understand that chief prosecuting attorney Nocon believes that NBI investigation results provide adequate basis for legal action, charges unspecified," he said. The chief prosecutor later dismissed NBI recommendations of homicide charges against Jack Enrile.
 The younger Enrile's bodyguard stood trial and was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for Lucas' death. Sullivan said if the younger Enrile was charged with homicide, it would have had a serious effect on the status of his father in the Marcos regime, including the older Enrile's possible removal from the halls of power during the dictatorship. 'Kissinger Files' The US envoy's cables on the Enriles are in WikiLeaks' searchable archive of 1.7 million US State Department documents from 1973-6 that had long been in the public domain. The archive includes the officially declassified memos -- which WikiLeaks referred to as the "Kissinger Cables" after then secretary of state Henry Kissinger -- and the 250,000 cables leaked by the anti-secrecy website in 2010. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that even though the 1973-6 cables were declassified, they previously could only be accessed through the US National Archives in PDF format. The National Archives said in response that the 1973-6 documents have been in the public domain since they were published in 2006, and provided a link to their own database, where users can also search by date, subject and tag. The archive can be viewed at WikiLeaks rose to fame in recent years by releasing hundreds of thousands of secret military logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the trove of classified US diplomatic cables. - with a report from Agence France-Presse


 First and foremost, I'd like to state categorically that I had nothing to do with the incident in 1975 wherein Ernest Lucas, Jr. was killed.
This matter was investigated by police authorities. Charges were filed, the case was properly heard in courts, and the suspect was tried and later sentenced to 12 years in prison which he served.
 My father who was then Defense Minister offered to resign his position in order to avoid suspicions of pressure or influence on those who had jurisdiction over the case. When his offer was turned down, he went on official leave and left for Japan until the investigation was concluded.
 The statements of the late former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines linking me to the killing were based on mere speculation and hearsay as the Wikileaks report itself will bear this out. He was, at that time, known to be against the administration, and that incident provided him an opportunity to embarrass the Marcos administration and cast a high government official and his son in a negative light with Washington.
 All documents submitted to the court prove the falsity of the allegations that were based on rumors. That this is being resurrected and circulated at this time when I am running for Senator is highly suspect. Some well-meaning friends have suggested that I file appropriate cases against those who are using that incident to harass me.
But I would rather not be distracted as my conscience is clear and my mind is set on pursuing my advocacies for food security and fair prices for the consuming public to help our people and our country. There are also reports that this demolition job is being done in order to derail my plan to look into and expose a government project that is highly questionable and grossly disadvantageous to the public. It will no longer be surprising, therefore, if some other fabrications and vicious stories are hurled against me and my teammates in the course of this campaign.
 However, I deeply regret the fact that such moves have had a serious effect on my father's health. At 89 years of age, he is suffering from severe hypertension and serious vision impairment. I feel for my ailing father who has been agonizing in silence, seeing me suffer all these unfair attacks as a result of old and deep-seated grudges against him. My old man does not deserve all these. He has served this country well. But I refuse to be intimidated. I will not be stopped.

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