Former Sen. Francisco ‘Kit’ Tatad wrote in his column ‘First Things First’ in Manila Standard yet another startling revelation that he claimed was deliberately left out in the surrender story of Mrs. Janet Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scandal. Truth is, his version completely twisted the background of the story as we know it.
Contrary to what the Palace released as the chronology of events last August 28, 2013, the day Napoles surrendered, Tatad wrote that she(Napoles) had actually been in Malacanang as early as 10 a.m. alone and without Atty. Lorna Kapunan, her lawyer, ’though Spokesman Edwin Lacierda was there to receive her.
A well-guarded meeting then was conducted inside a room with the President himself, Sec. Mar Roxas and Lacierda that lasted for almost six hours. Lunch was served and they were joined later by Cabinet Secretaries Rene Almendras, Butch Abad and Paquito Ochoa.
In between, the President left the room a few times to take some official calls and finally went out between 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for an unknown destination. The meeting supposedly ended at 4:30 p.m. and Napoles left with Lacierda.
More or less, this is how Tatad described what really transpired inside Malacanang on that fateful day. His source of information, according to him is ‘highly authoritative whose loyalty to Aquino is exceeded only by their loyalty to the truth and who shared the story with extreme pain and sadness’.
Expectedly, the Malacanang mouthpiece, Edwin Lacierda, was quick to deny Tatad’s allegation and refuted all details divulged by the former senator and even went to the extent of resurrecting Tatad’s association with Marcos and the Martial Law regime just to the discredit him.
“This grandiose conspiracy theory peddled by Tatad is symptomatic of the old order that has been swept away,” according to Lacierda.
Whether Tatad’s story is believable or his sources credible or even existent, is difficult to prove and may even remain a mystery forever. But it couldn’t come on a much better time after photos of the President with the Napoleses surfaced on the social media drawing mixed reactions from the netizens.
Tatad’s lunch tale of Napoles with the President had already raised a considerable amount of curiosity, if not apprehension, among the public and amateur conspiracy theorist who continues to associate the President with the scam. On the other hand, the Palace seemed to be on a clockwork duty to dispel every rumors of such nature. But the adult website link thing didn’t seem to help much in the attempt. It,in fact, increased the suspicions by leaps and bounds. A cover-up, a damage control is what it seemed to suggest.
I couldn’t count much on Tatad’s reputation nor on his literary imagination. But certainly there is something in his account that sent Malacanang and its occupants into a quiet anxiety.
And there is one thing he forget to asked about from his source – the menu.
Pork chop, maybe?