Court clears Capitol whistleblower-A A +A
Sunday, March 13, 2011
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – A local court here cleared Archimedes Reyes from the libel and oral defamation charges filed by former Pampanga governor Ed Panlilio and former Provincial Administrator Vivian Dabu last week.
Reyes, Panlilio’s former chief of staff, is part of a “dream confidence team” that propelled the Panlilio administration during its first few months. But Reyes, together with most of the so-called trusted aides of the former governor, resigned after disagreements with Dabu.
It was Reyes who blew the whistle on Panlilio and Dabu regarding the P500,000 "token" Panlilio allegedly received in a brown paper bag in a meeting in Malacañang. Panlilio and Dabu would later claim that the cash "bribe" was stashed away in a vault at the Capitol, "untouched and unmoved."
Reyes later revealed that the cash has been "tainted," with some P20,000 of it used for a seminar in Tagaytay -- it being a weekend, that the officials "drew from the token" contrary to their claims it was "never touched."
To date, Provincial Government officials are in a quandary as to where the cash is.
In recent interviews after the incident, Reyes, a former seminarian, said he kept mum and never joined any protest action, much more the infamous 256-day Biyaya a Luluguran at Sisikapan (Balas) camp-in protest where Panlilio reportedly dismissed 43 quarrymen after pumping in some P300 million in quarry collections.
“I was sympathizing then with them because most of them were my colleagues at the seminary, like Fil Rodriguez, Chris Ocampo and Rop Syquia. But I never raised a hand against them. Everyone knows about it. I was surprised I was included in the charges,” Reyes said.
In a message sent to Sun.Star Pampanga, Reyes said he was forlorn the Balas Boys remained uncleared. “The decision of the city prosecutor dismissing the libel case filed against me by Panlilio-Dabu is done. My lawyer made a motion for reinvestigation. It was granted. This is the result of that reinvestigation. I was not arraigned. Unfortunately, the rest of the Balas Boys are still fighting it out in court,” Reyes said.
In an order, the court upheld Reyes's statements saying he did not participate in posting, creating or saying libelous statements against Panlilio and Dabu.
In his statement, Reyes said he had the responsibility to observe, as chief of staff, rallies going on around the province.
The court ruled that “no conspiracy exists between Reyes and the protesting Balas Boys.”
Panlilio, Dabu and leaders of the defunct Balas boys have not issued any statement regarding the court decision.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 14, 2011.