Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Spy in the White House

Leandro Aragoncillo, a former US Marine of Filipino origin has been arrested for passing classified documents to foreign leaders, over a period during which he may have been assigned to the White House.  SBS News Australia says Aragoncillo passed 100 classified documents from FBI computers which included material damaging to the current President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The information was given to "opposition politicians planning a coup in the Pacific nation" -- including, apparently, former President Joseph Estrada, in jail on various corruption charges. According to SBS:

Deposed Philippine president Joseph Estrada admitted last month receiving information from Mr Aragoncillo. ... Mr Aragoncillo apparently gave his information to Mr Estrada while the deposed leader was being held in a military hospital, some time between mid-2001 and 2003.

A Filipino Senator close to Joseph Estrada, a certain Panfilo Lacson has been linked by innuendo to the espionage plot. From SBS again:

Michael Ray Aquino, a former official with the Philippines National Police arrested in March for overstaying a tourist visa, was charged alongside Mr Aragoncillo with "acting as unregistered agents of a foreign official and passing classified information to that official and others in the Republic of the Philippines." Mr Aquino is a known protege of opposition leader Senator Panfilo Lacson, who has been active in opposition efforts to oust Ms Arroyo.

Aragoncillo was a US Marine in a security capacity at the White House from 1999. According to the Washington Post:

Officials ... confirm that Aragoncillo first went to work at the White House in 1999, when Al Gore was vice president. ABC News reported last night that Aragoncillo had admitted taking classified documents while he worked in Cheney's office. ... Joseph Estrada ... has acknowledged receiving documents from Aragoncillo while the suspect was still in the Marines. Estrada told a Philippine newspaper last month that Aragoncillo had passed material while visiting him at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Manila, where the former president was receiving treatment while being held on corruption charges from 2001 through 2003. Part of that stay would coincide with Aragoncillo's time in Cheney's office.

The Washington Post also fingers Filipino Senator Panfilo Lacson, who prior to election had been a high ranking police officer.

Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, who unsuccessfully challenged Arroyo in the presidential election last year, said in an interview that he had received e-mails from Aquino. Lacson, a retired national police chief, was the head of a special organized crime task force, and Aquino (Michael Ray Aquino) was a senior aide on that force.

Those interested in further background on Aragoncillo and Michael Ray Aquino can go to this link CIC Center, which includes a link to Aragoncillo's court indictment.  Here is a further link to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, which has a plethora of inside sources in that country. 

(Speculation alert) One might reasonably ask how Joseph Estrada and Panfilo Lacson recruited a spy in the White House. Estrada's most notorious route of access into the 1999 White House was through Mark Jimenez, sentenced to two years in a Miami jail for federal election fraud in 2003. His sentence coincidentally, will be completely served this month. 

MIAMI, FLORIDA, November 15, 2003 (STAR) — Manila congressman Mark Jimenez ... was sentenced yesterday to more than two years in prison for federal election fraud. Jimenez, who pleaded guilty to election conspiracy and tax evasion charges, was also ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution Thursday. Federal prosecutors said Jimenez made about $41,500 in illegal contributions and caused false information to be submitted to the Federal Election Commission. US law forbids foreigners from making contributions to election campaigns. ...

He also thanked the US justice system. As part of a plea-bargaining agreement with the US Department of Justice, he will be detained in a camp complete with facilities but without a security fence. ... Jimenez had admitted using money from his Miami company and a closely related company to reimburse employees for illegal donations to then US President Bill Clinton and other Democrats. He moved back to the Philippines after Clinton was caught up in a series of fund-raising scandals. 

Mark Jimenez knew a lot of people in the Democratic Party. Newsmax has connected him with John Kerry in an article dated from 2004.

According to the Federal Election Commission records Kerry has taken money from Bernard Schwartz the CEO of Loral Corporation, convicted China-gate figure Johnny Chung, convicted China-gate figure John Huang, and convicted fundraising scandal figure Mark Jimenez.

Michelle Malkin described Mark Jimenez's access to the Clinton White house in the following 2001 Jewish World Review article:

In all, Jimenez visited the White House 12 times between 1994 and 1996. He even shelled out $100,000 toward the restoration of the former president's ancestral home in Arkansas. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism notes that photos made available to the press by Jimenez are "usually the ones showing him dining with Bill and Hillary."

Mark Jimenez, not so coincidentally, was a close associate of Joseph Estrada, the very man that accused spy Aragoncillo was said to have passed classified information to. According to a Filipino blogger:

As a close associate of Joseph Estrada, Jimenez reputedly picked up the tabs for Estrada’s gambling loses amounting to as much as PhP (Philippine Pesos $1=50 pesos) 20 to 40M at a time. One colorful description of the man was that despite his "generous" ways with money, he somehow never ran out of it. His "generosity" extended to GROs (female Guest Relations Officers) to whom he reportedly gave six-figure tips.

But returning to the subject of Michael Ray Aquino. The question might be asked why a "senior aide" in the Philippine police and a protege of Senator Panfilo Lacson, one of the other people linked to accused spy Aragoncillo might be skulking around the US on an expired tourist visa. The answer, not surprisingly, is that he was wanted for questioning in connection with a murder in the Philippines.

Fugitive and former police superintendent Michael Ray Aquino was arrested in New York City for an alleged immigration law violation ... 
"I think they [New York police] are trying to deport him," Diaz added.In an earlier radio interview on Wednesday, Diaz said Aquino was arrested for allegedly possessing an expired passport. Aquino and former police superintendent Cesar Mancao were charged with the double murder of publicist Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.

Bubby Dacer, according to unverified sources, was someone who had run afoul of criminal syndicates in the Philippines and needed to be rubbed out. But the connection between his alleged killer, Michael Ray Aquino, and certain names makes interesting reading. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism says:

Aquino was a chief inspector of the defunct Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) headed by then Vice Pres. Joseph Estrada. When the PACC was disbanded to form the now also defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF), he was promoted as senior superintendent. During his stint as a PACC agent, Aquino was implicated in five bank robberies and the Kuratong Baleleng rubout case, along with his superior, erstwhile chief superintendent (now senator) Panfilo Lacson, and 32 other police officials. The case was dismissed by a Quezon City trial court judge in 2003.

This story is not so much about a "spy in the White House" -- although it is about that -- as much as a look into the kind of effluent that washed up in Washington in 1999.

Update

A reader writes to say "By the way, the other thing Drudge got wrong is that Aragoncillo stole stuff from Cheney's or Al Gore's offices. But if you read the criminal complaint it only accuses him of downloading US intelligence on Philippine govt officials while working for the FBI in New Jersey in 2005". I noted the same thing myself in comments, which I reproduce verbatim.

The timeline contains a number of puzzling problems. The first regards when Aragoncillo contacted Estrada. The Washington Post article suggests Aragoncillo was passing info to Estrada between 2001 and 2003. However, the indictment suggests the initial transfer of info came in 2005.

"13. Additional records obtained from Hotmail and Yahoo! reveal that as early as January 2005 and continuing through September 2005, defendant LEANDRO ARAGONCILLO used the ARAGONCILLO Hotmail and Yahoo! Accounts to transmit classified documents and information to defendant AQUINO, and various current and former public officials of the Philippines."

The email cited in the first exchange has Michael Ray Aquino introducting Aragoncillo to Philippine official "b".

"Sir,
The other day, Leandro “Lean” Aragoncillo called me. He is the US Marine friend . . . . He already resigned from the USM and is now with the new intelligence unit . . . he is about to finish his training at the FBI NA in Quantico, Virginia."

Clearly this exchange would not have been necessary if Aragoncillo had already been to see Estrada between 2001 and 2003. Yet he is already apparently known to official "b" as "the US Marine friend", which suggests he made the acquaintance of official "b" while still in the USMC.

Update 2

Radioblogger noticed the discrepancy in dates too, which puts the acts of espionage after the Whitehouse stint. My only problem with this is that the indictment suggests from internal evidence, as I've noted above, that Aragoncillo was contacted while still a Marine.

Check the dates, people. The alleged espionage took place two years after he left the White House. It took place while he was at the FBI. The FBI are the ones who caught him. Yes, he's an alleged spy, and he's in for a world of trouble. But Brian Ross and Richard Esposito, and by extension ABC News, have a lot of explaining to do, because their insinuation that this is a White House spy scandal looks to be garbage.

37 Comments:

Blogger Cybrludite said...

Joy. Another bit of fallout from our "vacation from history" in the '90s...

10/06/2005 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger moderationist said...

The do-nothing president in the do-nothing years from 92 to 00 did nothing to stop the gathering storms.

10/06/2005 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

And only the tip of the iceburg, apparently. We wait for more with bated breath.

10/06/2005 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger raymondshaw said...

Wretchard, if I may be so bold, I would rephrase that as

-- as much as a look into the kind of effluent that washed up in Washington in 1993-2001.

10/06/2005 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I was wondering whether effluent was the right word. Some time ago I mentioned Mark Jimenez, AKA Mario Crespo, in passing. He was among other things, a 'trader' doing business with Latin American countries with reputed connections in Arkansas. After he made the FBI wanted list, Jimenez escaped to the Philippines and ran, as a political ally of Estrada, for Congress, his US citizenship being of slight importance.

The other fellow in this spy drama, Michael Ray Aquino was no ordinary overstaying alien. The Aragoncillo indictment describes him as the equivalent of the deputy director of the FBI.

"Defendant MICHAEL RAY AQUINO is a citizen of the
Philippines, and resides in Jamaica, Queens, New York. Defendant
AQUINO formerly served as the Deputy Director of the Philippines
National Police -- Intelligence Group, and Senior Superintendent
of the now-disbanded Philippines Presidential Anti-Organized
Crime Task Force until 2001."

The court documents show that Aragoncillo used Hotmail and Yahoo email accounts to transmit classified information not only to Aquino but to foreign officials described as:

"a. A former high-level national public official
(“Public Official #1);
b. A current high-level national public official
(“Public Official #2");
c. A second current high-level national public
official (“Public Official #3") (sometimes collectively referred
to as the “Public Officials”)."

Person "a" is probably Joseph Estrada. Person "b" may be Panfilo Lacson. Aragoncillo ran with Michael Ray Aquino and the three John Does; and it would be interesting to know how and when he got to know them.

10/06/2005 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

On page 12 of Aragoncillo's indictment, the following tantalizing email extract is attributed as a message from foreign official "c" to Aragoncillo:

"You can count on me. Your document is accurately perfect. If there are confidential matters that you wish to share, don’t hesitate because I was fully trained in this endeavor. I was the one who established the . . . ."

Established the what? One wonders.

10/06/2005 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The timeline contains a number of puzzling problems. The first regards when Aragoncillo contacted Estrada. The Washington Post article suggests Aragoncillo was passing info to Estrada between 2001 and 2003. However, the indictment suggests the initial transfer of info came in 2005.

"13. Additional records obtained from Hotmail and Yahoo! reveal that as early as January 2005 and continuing
through September 2005, defendant LEANDRO ARAGONCILLO used the
ARAGONCILLO Hotmail and Yahoo! Accounts to transmit classified
documents and information to defendant AQUINO, and various
current and former public officials of the Philippines."

The email cited in the first exchange has Michael Ray Aquino introducting Aragoncillo to Philippine official "b".

"Sir,
The other day, Leandro “Lean” Aragoncillo called me. He is the US Marine friend . . . . He already resigned from the USM and is now with the new intelligence unit . . . he is about to finish his training at the FBI NA in Quantico, Virginia."

Clearly this exchange would not have been necessary if Aragoncillo had already been to see Estrada between 2001 and 2003. Yet he is already apparently known to official "b" as "the US Marine friend", which suggests he made the acquaintance of official "b" while still in the USMC.

10/06/2005 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

When I head about the spy case this morning I was sure hoping that the Belmont Club would expond on this. And you did not disappoint. This convoluted tale would confuse Tom Clancy.
I mean,...really! An anti-crime commission manned by crimminals? A corrupt group stealing secrets from another government in order to overthrow another corrupt group?
Just who do these politicians in the Phillipines think they are
- the senior staff of the United Nations?

10/06/2005 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

The situation with the government in the Filipines is bad.

Not too long ago I was watching The Filipino Channel broadcast (TFC is a set of internationally broadcast Filipino channels) and one show the host was speculating the opposition to GMA was counting on YAE (Yet another Edsa aka People Power revolution) to help overthrow GMA. Edsa III has yet to happen and likely will not. The fellow representing the opposition denied it but absent that (or worse) GMA will survive in power.

I think the people are taking the counsel of The Who. Meet the new boss, just same as the old boss. Sad.

Michelle Malkin covers the story but nowhere near in depth as this presenatation by Wretchard (at least not yet).

I hope things settle down, Claudia and I are headed to the Filipines in the near future.

10/06/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

Etymological note:  "effluent" just means "that which flows out".  "Offal" might have been more apt.

10/06/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

There was reason why Al Qaeda chose the Philippines to test out their hijacking plots; why they chose it as a locale to try and assassinate the Pope. It's the home of Operation Bojinka, the precursor of 911. There was a reason and now you know the reason.

10/06/2005 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

What were Aragoncillo's motives? Money? Prestige? Loyalty? Power?

Who else got documents?

Gambling debts is a big red letter. It implies that others may be involved as a way to get influence.

Is this related in any way to the Clinton's gathering information on GOP and then letting people have access?

10/06/2005 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff M said...

Question:

Are these characters Muslims?

10/06/2005 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

3 points:

1. Is Aragoncillo still in the Marine Reserves and, therefore, subject to recall and court-martial?

2. As to where does this all come from? Can you say "China"? From where else could the limitless money have come?

3. It amazes me that the MSM so consistently keeps the Klintoon name away from this (as all their other) scandals.

10/06/2005 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Jeff M,

No. These characters aren't Muslims. However, their belief system is extremely elastic to the point where it can be said that they don't believe in anything but money.

10/06/2005 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

3Case,

Although the Philippines is an extremely poor country, its overlords are fabulously rich; and the basis of their wealth not infrequently crime. Crime as in drug-dealing, money laundering, kidnap and ransom. Things of that sort.

10/06/2005 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

A White House that sells access so unabashedly will sooner or later attract such shady characters. I fear Clinton is the future, what a White House Administration will look like once all the rabid dogs of war have been put down, as we languish in succor and plenty, our appetites satiated, and let the fire burn low.

10/06/2005 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

A reader has written to me privately describing one of the prevailing conspiracies in the Philippine capital. It goes like this.

Arroyo double-crossed President Bush by pulling troops out of Iraq and has been stalling the pasage of an anti-terrorism bill for over 4 years. The bill is unpopular with the local pols because it will put a crimp in money laundering and other favorite pastimes. Hence there was a US intelligence collection program aimed at pushing her along, which somehow got hijacked by political rivals. The further wrinkle is that Arroyo plans on passing a twisted version of the antiterrorism bill not to fight the Abu Sayaf but to firm up her own powers.

When I got the letter I asked myself why the FBI and not the CIA would have custody of information on a foreign leader. Then I remembered how Filipino leaders were in the habit of acquiring hidden assets in the US from their, ahem, enterprises. That would be of interest to the FBI.

Honestly I don't know what the inside story is and repeat the story above with warning signs draped all over it. Parts of it seem plausible and other parts plausible only in the hothouse atmosphere of Manila. But I think it is fair to say that corrupt foreign leaders can pose a real national security threat to the US, as recent events have shown.

10/06/2005 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Wretchard,

This is off topic, but I thought I would mention here.

Bush's NED speech today had many interesting overtones, and almost as many interesting undertones, regarding our approach to the War on Terror.

Here's what I was able to cull in one sitting:

1. Much stronger emphasis on Islam, both as the enemy and the ally. For the first time that I can recall, Bush engaged Muslims using Suras from the Koran. Also, he specifically highlighted the enemy's perversion and exploitation of the religion.

2. Bush spent much time on a theme comparing Communism and Radical Islam--their disregard for individual worth, political ambitions for a few elites under the banner of a fight for the many oppressed, internal contradictions, indescriminate killings, etc. Attendant was a complete refutation of communism. Carefully aimed, I would say.

3. For the first time in two years, Bush reaffirmed his comment that he will not distinguish between terrorists and those who support them. Syria and Iran were called out specifically, and strong threats were made. Those sentences might be the most consequential of the entire speech, they were so strong. I'm talking Sept. 20th, 2001 strong.

4. Bush addressed the terrorists' claims one by one, knocking them down in turn. An example: "Zarqawi says that Americans are a breed of cowards. But it is cowardice to kill children and the elderly with car bombs. It is cowardice to decapitate unarmed captives, or kill teachers at school, or murder the innocent as they leave their worship at a mosque. It was courage that liberated 50 million people..." and so on. It must be noted that this is the language of our enemy.

5. Bush defeated any further suggestion of a quick retreat from Iraq with one question: "Will America be more or less safe if we allow an enemy, with the stated goal of destroying our country, to rule over the people, the territory, and the resources of Iraq?"

6. Rights of women, rights of women, rights of women. As a side note, Iraq's interior minister called out the House of Saud (from Gatewaypundit):

Saud's comments also drew a harsh attack from Iraq's interior minister, who said Iraqis would "not accept a Bedouin on a camel teaching us about human rights and democracy."

Interior Minister Bayan Baqer Sulagh said the oil-rich Sunni-ruled kingdom had several problems of its own to take care of. "Saudis should first allow women to drive, as is the case in Iraq," he said, adding that "four million Shia live like second-class citizens in the Saudi kingdom."


Is this not a momentous event in the history of memetic cross-pollination?

To end, we must remember that Dictators look outwards when their domestic situation is in turmoil. The same is probably true of American Presidents, especially when they already have a war to fight.

10/06/2005 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Wretchard,

I suspect the generalities of what your correspondent says is close to being correct.

This all brings back to memories of the trial of General Carlos Garcia. He had some pretty prime NYC properties. So I am sure the FBI has quite a few files on the activities of all sorts of movers and shakers in the Philippines.

I doubt the claim this is a black operation against GMA because of the pullout from Iraq. As far as direct connection to Al-Qaida, Abu Sayyf et al, I very much doubt it but it certainly helps AQ. I am sure the NPA is quite happy about all of this too.

10/06/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

An interesting article by the Guardian on how Europe is working to impose an upper level UN control of the internet.

This is a really really bad idea no matter how innocuous it is to begin with.

Breaking America's grip on the net

10/06/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Jakester said...

With vetting procedures like what we have, Osama could be working for them.

10/06/2005 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger MikeZ said...

Google for Ana Belen Montes. She was a Defense Department employee, spying for the Cubans. She said much the same thing this guy did: she didn't agree with US policy toward Cuba.

Now she's doing 25 years as a guest of the state. I think he will get much the same.

10/06/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Wretchard, you have bested all of the blogs on this issue. It's clear the MSM is spinning any spy case as "it happened under Bush's Watch" but the reality is that it happened under Clinton's Watch.

It appears that there was a considerable criminal element in US government during the Clinton Administration (including Bill Clinton).

Your assessment of the rather lax criminal justice system in the Philippines correlates to my talks with many Filopinos (corruption is rampant in the country). It's true I don't speak the language (a mixture of Spanish and some southern Asian language) but I caught most of the drift (kidnapping, extortion, protection, and money laundering is still in high gear).

Further, I think the Marine should get the book thrown at him. The man is a US Marine. He has a moral and legal duties to defend the USA not defraud it (Whatever happened to "Death before dishonor").

I must note that the lax sentencing of Mark Jimenez was a poor decision. The man is in a facility with tennis courts! All I can say is I hope Saddam doesn't plea bargain the same agreement.

[Newsflash]:

The 56-year-old Jimenez said he hoped his guilty plea would serve as "a moral lesson in my country" where political corruption is frequently alleged but rarely admitted... He also thanked the US justice system. As part of a plea-bargaining agreement with the US Department of Justice, he will be detained in a camp complete with facilities but without a security fence.

Jimenez's lawyer Ed Escueta, meanwhile, issued a statement saying Jimenez "is not going to jail" but will instead be sent on Jan. 6 next year to a federal facility either in Eglan or Coleman, both located in Florida, which has amenities such as tennis courts.


See: Newsflash

Further, it took US tax laws to bring this con-man down (classic forensic accounting).

[NM]:

At least seven of Jimenez's workers who "gave" $1,000 each to Clinton at a Miami fund-raiser Jimenez hosted later received $1,000 bonus checks in return. Jimenez's company pleaded guilty to having falsely claimed the donation reimbursements as deductible payroll expenses on its corporate income tax return. In addition, the company admitted having falsely reported as a charitable contribution deduction a $100,000 donation made to the Democratic National Committee. The company pled guilty to two felony counts of tax evasion and agreed to pay a $1 million fine, plus back taxes and penalties owed.

See Michelle Malkin

Where is George Soros? Why is he not in the USA? Does he have some tax problems?

10/06/2005 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

GONZALES: PEOPLE HAVE JUDGED SENATE:

Last week, Mrs. Arroyo accused the Senate of abusing its legislative oversight powers to undermine her administration by conducting inquiries purportedly to expose corruption.

Lawmakers argue that it infringes on Congress’ oversight powers. Critics of the order plan to challenge it before the Supreme Court.

Gonzales believes the row over EO 464 was a blessing in disguise, saying it showed the need to change the country’s form of government from the current US-style presidential system to a federal, parliamentary setup.

http://www.newsflash.org/2004/02/hl/hl102967.htm

10/06/2005 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

It would probably be a good idea to look into the Louie Freeh comments about Clinton posted on drudge.

Looks like ABC was looking for some super symetry to cover the clinton bombshell.

10/06/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

FBI examines computers in Cheney's office:

Aragoncillo was hired to work at Fort Monmouth in July 2004 and began sending classified information and documents in January, often via e-mail, according to an FBI complaint made public last month. The documents' contents have not been made public.

From May to Aug. 15 of this year, he printed or downloaded 101 classified documents relating to the Philippines, of which 37 were classified "secret," according to the criminal complaint.

He sent some of the material to Aquino, the complaint said.

Aragoncillo's public defender, Chester M. Keller, declined to say if his client was cooperating with investigators. "It's just too sensitive right now," Keller said.

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/politics/12836888.htm

10/06/2005 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger john marzan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/07/2005 01:40:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

here's the latest on the mark jimenez story from the tribune:

Oct. 7, 2005

He couldn't take much more of the pressure from Malacañang amid increasing corruption charges and the unconstitutional methods being utilized by President Arroyo that he saw was destroying the democratic institutions.

This was the reason given by sources close to Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo for his sudden resignation
, which, however, takes effect at the end of November.

Marcelo himself claimed that his resignation stemmed from health problems, but the same sources said the Ombudsman resigned because he had reached the point where he had to draw the line between his legitimate function as an Ombudsman tasked to investigate and elevate corrup-tion cases to the Sandigan-bayan, as well as adhere to the letter of the law and continue to remain loyal to President Arroyo by ignoring what he had been taught in law school.

The last straw reportedly came about after a shouting match ensued between his former law partner and now Defense Chief Avelino “Nonong” Cruz and himself, over Executive Order 464 and alleged orders from Presi-dent Arroyo for the Ombudsman to quash the cases filed against former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez on the $2 million dollar bribe from then Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez, a.k.a. Mario Crespo, among other cases Marcelo was working on, such as the military officials who have been charged or are about to be charged with plunder.

Insiders in the Ombudsman's office told the Tribune yesterday that Marcelo was also under pressure from the HongKong anti-corruption consultant, Tony Kwok and the international community, such as European Union officials who have plunked in funds for his anti-corruption drive, to start filing cases against Perez as well as other administration personalities for the country's anti-corruption drive to have a greater impact.

Palace sources, however also told the Tribune that the President didn't want Perez, who is also the subject of the Swiss authorities for alleged money laundering activities, touched, fearing that her former justice secretary may just get back at her if he is charged by the Ombudsman, even on graft and corruption. The Palace insiders added that “other deals” would surface which would link former President Fidel Ramos, whom Mrs. Arroyo appears to be protecting, in exchange for his political support.

The sources also pointed out that Marcelo quit because he could no longer swallow what the Arroyo administration wants him to do – which is for him to forget about his office's investigation on the alleged pay off in the Impsa (Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anomina), the Argentine firm that rehabilitated the Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK) power plant complex in Laguna.


Now Wretchard, didn't you use to work for former Philippine president Fidel Ramos back in the 90s? And that you know personally some of the people in the current Arroyo admin (and the old Ramos admin)? maybe you can shed some light on this too?

And you're not telling the whole picture, wretch. it wasn't just erap who was involved with mario crespo aka mark jimenez:

Jimenez, in his privileged speech at the House last year, claimed actually releasing $14 million in kickbacks in exchange for the approval of the IMPSA power deal. The Manila lawmaker was later extradited to the United States to face charges of mail fraud and illegal campaign contribution.

The IMPSA contract was approved four days after President Arroyo assumed the presidency in January 2001.

Of the $14-million bribe, Jimenez claimed $2 million went to Perez, $1 million "for the boys" and $4 million to Malacañang "residents." The remaining $7 million remains unaccounted for.


yup, the IMPSA deal happened after Erap was ousted in 2001. you're an insider, maybe you know about this deal too, yes?

10/07/2005 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

who are these "malacanang residents" mark jimenez was referring to anyway?

10/07/2005 01:47:00 AM  
Blogger cuttinbacklatelyornot said...

something to start with:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malacanang

this seems like an even more stranger-to-deal-with example of what can go amiss within little pockets of normative sovereignty; now we can go into these pockets and root out some deeply rooted problems when they:


1. pose strategic threats
(iraq, afghanistan)
2. violate human rights
(kosovo)
3. violate their sovereign pocket
(iraq in '91, hitler etc)
The biggest unanswered questions during this period have to do with what to do when one of these pockets:

-violates the NPT (either by resisting the efforts pursuing an international integrity for given dual-use technology OR by declaring to have nuclear weapons explicitly) (iran and north korea)
- the pocket's mismanagement/malicious government results in morbidity extending beyond the given pocket and into neighboring pockets (saudi arabia, pakistan, palestine, syria, phillipines, indonesia etc)

10/07/2005 02:02:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

Did you delete my last post, Wretch?

More here on Mark Jimenez (Oct. 7, 2005):

Jimenez in a privilege speech in December 2002 accused Perez of having extorted $2 million from him to exclude him as a co-accused in the plunder case against detained President Joseph Estrada.

The $2 million was later found to have been part of an alleged $14 million bribe for high ranking officials who had grabbed power from Estrada, in exchange for a sovereign guarantee. That guarantee was given on the second day of office of President Arroyo, or four days after the Edsa II coup d'etat.

The Impsa contract was turned down by then President Estrada on the ground of its being disadvantageous to the government.

Sources from the Napocor said Impsa's proposal to rehabilitate the CBK power plant complex in Laguna was uncalled for, as the plant did not need rehabilitation.

Napocor was also reported to have paid Impsa more than $50 million for the first 18 months of its operation, even if the Argentine firm had so far invested only $9 million to rehabilitate the plant.

Documents showed that Coutts Bank Hongkong transactions had deposited $2 million in the account of private banker and the President's fund raiser, Ernest Escaler, and withdrawn a few days later. The funds were later traced to a Swiss bank account, along with a power of attorney assigned by Perez to his wife.

Perez also admitted he was indeed in Hong Kong on Feb. 23, 2001 when the alleged “extortion money” was remitted to the Coutts Bank in Hong Kong.

Perez, however, said he was there to sign the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement with the Hong Kong government.

To this day however, that agreement remains unsigned.

10/07/2005 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger alb said...

Hey, Wretchard, what's Nene Pimentel's involvement in this?

10/10/2005 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger 1289347102947 said...

"There was reason why Al Qaeda chose the Philippines to test out their hijacking plots; why they chose it as a locale to try and assassinate the Pope. It's the home of Operation Bojinka, the precursor of 911. There was a reason and now you know the reason."

Fortunately for the pope, the local police unravelled the conspiracy. As for Operation Bojinka, the US was warned by the Philippines of the possibility of terrorists crashing planes on the twin towers. Unfortunately, the US government didn't do anyting about it.

10/11/2005 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger beezle said...

I've just now run across your posting on Aragoncillo.. wish I
had earlier as it would have
saved me a bunch of time as I too speculate he may have been placed by Jimenez. What we really need
to know is how he was placed in
the WH to begin with and exactly
what his assignment there was.

Regarding the current indictment,
nothing in it precludes the
possibility that Aragoncillo
was passing documents prior to
joining the FBI, nor do we
know if he only passed
political information. Military information may also
have been useful for corrupt
officials and business in the
Philippines.

Regards,

Admin
www.rant.st

10/12/2005 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger john marzan said...

look who mark jimenez is hanging out with lately

http://www.inq7.net/archive/2006/jun/22/index_nerv.jpg

6/24/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

look who mark jimenez is hanging out with lately

6/24/2006 10:20:00 AM  

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