MARCOS CONFIRMS RECORDED CONVERSATION WITH OPAPP CHIEF DELES

MARCOS CONFIRMS RECORDED CONVERSATION WITH OPAPP CHIEF DELES

MANILA – Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. on Tuesday confirmed that it was him and Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Deles talking in a recorded audio that a retired police general allegedly received through e-mail.

”It’s really our conversation,” Marcos, a vice presidential candidate and chairman of the Senate committee on local government that is sponsoring a substitute bill on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), said in a media interview during a visit at the Taft-based Philippine Christian University.

Marcos, however, said the recording of their conversation was unauthorized.

”Nobody told them to do it. I did not allow them to do it nor asked permission to do it. So, it was unauthorized,” Marcos told the media.

Marcos said the conversation happened when Deles met him right after the Mamasapano encounter between the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Moro rebels, including Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters on Jan. 25 last year.

He said his conversation with OPAPP chief happened inside Senate office where “there were like, I think, 50 people.”

”We don’t’ know who did the recording because our office that the time was open, everybody comes and go,” Marcos said.

When asked if there was attempt to cover up the Mamasapano incident so as not to affect the passage of the BBL, Marcos said people could come to their own conclusion if they heard the audio.

”Essentially, what happened was we must, whatever happened, we need to continue the deliberation of the BBL. Like I said the recording is still online. So people can come to their own conclusion,” Marcos said.

Marcos said it’s up to Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public order, whether to tackle the audio recording at the reopening of the Mamasapano probe on Wednesday.

Senate President Franklin Drilon has said the audio recording was unauthorized and could not be used in the Mamasapano hearing based on the anti-wiretapping law.

Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero, also a vice presidential aspirant, said the audio recording is admissible in the Mamasapano inquiry if it will be established as wiretapped.

”If it was wiretapped, the personalities in the audio so object,” Escudero, a lawyer, said.

Meanwhile, Marcos said there was still a slight chance that Senate would pass the BBL’s substitute bill, Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR).

”It might still. We have still five session days left before election and then nine sessions after the election. I would like it very much to pass because my substitute bill, I think, is a good way to attain peace. So we will continue to deliberate,” Marcos said.

At present, the Senate is still in the period of interpellation on the BLBAR, with Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile has yet to wrap up his interpellation. Jelly Musico/PNA/northboundasia.com