‘Smokescreens and subterfuge’
In the spirit of journalistic fair play to which the Inquirer adheres, please allow me this rejoinder to Amando Doronila’s May 6 front-page commentary titled “Attacks on Legarda rock LP coalition.”
First, what “dubious” reputation was Doronila talking about when the track record of my victories in and out of court as a public interest advocate speaks for itself?
Second, as a veteran journalist, Doronila should have known that the best evidence for Loren Legarda to back her claim that she declared her New York condo was not the self-serving certification issued by her lawyers, but her own statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).
But did Doronila bother to ask Legarda for a copy of her SALNs from 2007 to 2011? Nope. If he did, he would have joined the ranks of the reporters in the May 2 press conference of Legarda who asked for the SALNs from the senator but who were turned down.
Like Legarda, it seems Doronila wanted people to be “shocked and awed” by the credentials of Legarda’s lawyers from Accra and SGV who issued the certification. Well, I am not impressed because their certification is laughable as it has no evidentiary value whatsoever in court.
Doronila only needs to look at Legarda’s 2011 SALN and the SALNs covering the years 2007 to 2010 to see with his own eyes that the condo unit at #77 Park Avenue was never declared by Legarda in the strict manner prescribed by the SALN law, like identifying its location.
Third, I never claimed to be a lawyer. It was Legarda who planted the seed of this disinformation, which was further peddled by her minions when we went one-on-one in the television show Punto Por Punto. So, who’s engaged in black propaganda now?
Lastly, I have presented the evidence that would send Legarda to jail for perjury—whether in the United States or the Philippines. In the New York deed of sale covering the property, Legarda appears as the sole buyer, but here in the Philippines she claims she co-owns it with her father and two brothers. Legarda has been lying through her teeth in giving blanket denials and trying to discredit me. She wants the public to believe that she co-owns the NY condo with her father and two brothers because with her salary as a senator at only P75,000, it would be impossible for her to be able to afford a P36-million condo in the United States unless she dipped her fingers into public funds.
It’s a shame that a veteran journalist like Doronila who writes an “Analysis” piece for the Inquirer cannot see through and “analyze” Legarda’s smokescreens and subterfuges. Legarda’s attempts at diverting the issues are so amateurish that only the blind would not see her pathetic excuses for what they really are.
—LOUIS “BAROK” BIRAOGO,
lead convenor and advocate,
(Bantayan ang Republika, OK?),
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