From Ellen Tordesillas:
Former intelligence agent T/Sgt. Vidal Doble yesterday said a confidante of President Arroyo had offered him help on condition that he not testify on the “Hello Garci” controversy.
Doble, appearing at the Senate inquiry on the “Hello Garci” wiretapping controversy, said he met “Medy,” later identified as Remedios Poblador, at the quarters of then AFP chief Gen. Efren Abu in Camp Aguinaldo, where he was reunited with his wife Arlene and children Darren and Danica in June 2005.
Doble said Arlene identified “Medy” as the personal secretary of President Arroyo.
“Lumapit po siya sa asawa ko at sinabi niya na kung may problema, siya lang ang lapitan. Sinabi niya kay Arlene na siya ang bahala kung hindi ako magte-testify,” he said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, during his interrogation of Doble, said Medy is “actually Remedios Poblador,” an undersecretary in the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.
“I did a little background investigation and research and I found she is the personal confidante of PGMA (Arroyo). Information has it that there are only two persons personally allowed by PGMA to ride in her car, Lupita Kashiwahara and Poblador,” Lacson said.
More from Malaya:
REMEDIOS Poblador is an undersecretary assigned at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said yesterday.
In a press conference in Malacañang after Poblador’s name cropped up during the Senate’s investigation into the "Hello Garci" scandal, Puno said Poblador has been in touch with the family of former military intelligence agent Vidal Doble from the time that he took refuge at the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City in June 2005.
He said she assisted Doble them in terms of food, transportation, "and the like" whenever she was asked.
He said Poblador is a relative of Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales, but did not get into specifics.
He said as far a he knows Poblador is helping the Dobles in a private capacity and not as Malacañang representative.
"Walang kinalaman ang Malacañang. Sa testimony ang sabi tumulong si Usec Poblador, si Medy. Iyun ang dapat alalahanin ng lahat. Hinilingan, hiningan ng tulong at tumulong siya, masama ba iyun? Kung may maipakita na iyung tulong ay may kapalit, halimbawa kaya lang niyan tinulungan ay para magsinungaling, ayun! Hindi naman yata iyun nangyari," he said.
Read the whole thing.
In other news, the generals invoke EO 464.
MORE: From the Malaya editorial.
UPDATE: Manuel Buencaminio nails it again.
And from the PDI Editorial:
But it is, perhaps, with regard to Doble’s testimony that he had been approached by presidential aide Medy Poblador, that his most recent testimony truly became more than a rehash or revision of his previous statements.
Doble said Poblador approached him, after he was spirited back to military custody under the auspices of Bishop Socrates Villegas, and offered him money in exchange for his refusal to testify before the House of Representatives. The public might just be willing to give the military the benefit of the doubt, for successfully retrieving one of its own who had, essentially, become a rogue agent. An aide of the President offering incentives to a witness to refuse cooperation with the House, on the other hand, is another matter altogether.
Poblador acts as a liaison between Congress and the President. She was perhaps most obviously in her role as presidential fixer during the first impeachment attempt, where she lurked in the lounge behind the Speaker’s chair in the plenary hall, for reasons best left to congressmen to reveal. There is no doubt she holds a favored place in the President’s innermost circle of can-do people.
The question now becomes, whether Poblador acted in a manner resembling US President Richard Nixon’s aides, to keep E. Howard Hunt, implicated in the Watergate break-in scandal, quiet in exchange for money. In the United States, the result of Nixon’s authorizing the bribe effort resulted in one of the articles of impeachment filed against him. We cannot emphasize how serious the allegation of Poblador’s potential involvement could be, precisely because it’s so reminiscent of the Nixon case.
Doble’s allegations concerning Poblador, who seems to have used family ties with Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, the Archbishop of Manila, to get Bishop Villegas involved, brings up questions about how the administration wields its clout with the Catholic hierarchy. Either the prelates naively acted in good faith, or were co-conspirators in crimes that range from intimidating a witness, including coercing the witness to commit perjury, to (possibly) outright kidnapping and the creation of a situation where an aide of the President could make an offer Doble couldn’t refuse.
At the heart of it is an insight into motive: If Doble were simply a liar, no government would have gone this far, possibly broken so many laws, or risked wrecking so many reputations. That it did suggests Doble really has the goods on them.