On Tulfo’s ‘egregious errors’
Your columnist Mon Tulfo’s column, “Closing the book on Pestaño case” (11/15/12), contains egregious errors that need rebutting.
1. Ensign Philip Pestaño did not slash his wrist. It was an accidental wound that was treated by a doctor whom Philip saw voluntarily in the company of some of his friends.
2. Philip was never “diagnosed to be emotionally and psychologically unstable.”
If that were true, the diagnosis would have been presented either at the Senate hearing that resulted in the Senate resolution that Mon adverted to in his column or in the preliminary investigations conducted by various Ombudsmen, from Ani Desierto up to the present Ombudsman, former Justice Conchita Carpio Morales.
No such diagnosis surfaced in the 15 or so years of the preliminary investigation of the case and I would dare say up to this writing.
3. Philip was already engaged to be married shortly before his murder. With his parents’ support, the couple was quietly preparing for the wedding.
4. Philip was no drug addict and no evidence of that sort came out in the 15 years that the case had been subjected to preliminary investigation. To cavalierly assert that he was adds calumny to the murder that he suffered.
5. According to reports reaching me, the ammunition that had been loaded on the RPS Bacolod City was distributed to certain rebel groups in the Muslim areas in Mindanao in exchange for things of value.
6. A paragraph in Mon’s column asserts that the “lumber [that was loaded in RPS Bacolod City, which Philip disapproved of] was given by Tawi Tawi Gov. Rashibin Matba.” That assertion by itself speaks volumes that will need amplification, perhaps, in the trial of the case.
7. The credentials of the forensic expert engaged by the Pestaño family, Wayne Hill, have been laid on the table for anyone to object to or criticize when he was testifying during the Senate inquiry into the death of Philip. Nobody did.
8. My information is that Philip’s insurance amounted to a few hundreds of thousands, not P25 million as Mon claims.
9. My participation in that conversation with two naval commanders that Mon also writes of was upon the request of the father of Philip that I listen to what the two had to say about Philip’s case.
I did suggest for them to tell the truth and if they turned state witness, that would be fine. The two neither acceded to nor refused my suggestion.
If Mon thinks that I am fabricating my angle on the incident, he should feel free to prove it. After all, he says that his friends had taped our conversation.
As to the refusal of the author of the Senate resolution of which Mon writes, I know from my stint in the Senate that sometimes some senators back off from something they had been advocating for a myriad reasons.
I am hoping that this letter would find a space in your well-read newspaper.
—AQUILINO ‘NENE’ PIMENTEL JR.