Morato replies to de Quiros
Please allow me to set the record straight regarding Conrado de Quiros’ June 11 column (Inquirer, 6/11/13).
1. As a Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office director (from 2004 to June 2010), I had nothing to do with intelligence funds. The funds automatically go to only two persons—PCSO’s chair and general manager—upon the approval of the President of the Republic. Directors do not have powers to sign vouchers, checks, contracts and the like. In fairness to former PCSO chair Sergio Valencia and general manager Rosario Uriarte, their withdrawals were cleared by the Commission on Audit after proper audit.
2. At the Jan. 30, 2013 hearing at the Sandiganbayan, my lawyer asked the principal witness, PCSO director Aleta Tolentino, if she came across the name of “former director Manuel Morato in any of the documents the PCSO submitted for four months.” She admitted in open court that “No, he had no participation…” I thank the director for being truthful.
3. The only differences that I had with former President Joseph Estrada go back to the elections of 1998 when we both ran. After he won, he never heard any comment from me again—during his presidency, when he was being impeached and during Edsa 2.
I did not apologize to Estrada as De Quiros claimed. There was no need for it because a mutual lady-friend mediated between us way before the hearing. Being a compadre of his for 35 years, and because his late mother was a friend of my late mother, I knew nothing was going to happen in that hearing.
4. I did not ban Lino Brocka’s “Orapronobis.” Though the board members/reviewers “x-rated” it, I called for an en banc review by 30 board members, which I joined. I found the film suitable for Parental Guidance as our people know that we are neither cannibals nor do we eat brains. But the Theater Association was threatened by rightists that theaters showing “Orapronobis” would be bombed. The producer blamed me and never picked up the MTRCB permit for public exhibition. Instead, the film was smuggled out of the country which did so much harm to our domestic helpers in Paris, where many of the Filipino domestic helpers lost their jobs because, prior to the showing of “Orapronobis,” some 15 children in Texas cared for by Latin American domestic helpers were accused of eating the brains of children. Against this backdrop, Filipino domestic helpers were feared to also eat brains.
Lino’s mother called me to invite me to go to his wake in UP. She apologized for the difficulties I went through with her son, and to please forgive him. Was I not supposed to accept her apology? I readily accepted it, went straight to Lino’s coffin, prayed and kissed the mother and told her I never hated her son.
I am glad De Quiros is taking care of his mother. His close friends are to blame for that statement. I want to assure him and the public at large that I never committed what he is accusing me of. And I thank the Blessed Mother for his not being one of the Sandiganbayan justices.
Conrad, please ask all the producers if during my MTRCB chairmanship I ever accepted “lagay” from any of them. Ask Mother Lily, Vic del Rosario, Robbie Tan and others while they are still alive and well.
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