Leaked PDEA docs whistleblower tagged as ‘storytelling liar’

Leaked PDEA docs whistleblower tagged as ‘storytelling liar’
Screenshot from Senate video

A FORMER chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) tagged on Monday, May 13, 2024, former anti-narcotics agent Jonathan Morales as a “storytelling liar.”

During the resumption of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs inquiry into the alleged leak of confidential information from PDEA that links several personalities, including President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and actress Maricel Soriano, on illegal drugs, former PDEA director Dionisio Santiago testified as a “surprise witness” of panel vice chairperson, Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

Santiago, who served as the PDEA director from 2006 to 2010, said Morales is known for besmirching his superior’s credibility by making false allegations.

“I was the [PDEA] director general then. They were just ‘doormats.’ But I was puzzled why he was all over. Why is he bypassing his superiors?” he said.

“Alam mo, ‘wag ka magagalit Jonathan, ang tawag ng mga kaibigan naming sayo ay ‘STL.’ ‘Wag mong kakalimutan ang STL, kilala ka nila personally. Ano ang STL, ang alam ko small town lottery, (pero) professional storytelling liar,” he added.

(You know, don't be angry Jonathan, our friends call you 'STL.' Don't forget STL, they know you personally. What is STL, I know small town lottery, (but) it’s professional storytelling liar.)

Morales has been in hot water after saying that the leaked operational document linking Marcos and Soriano, among others, to drug use is legitimate.

He said he came up with the document after receiving information from an asset about the individuals’ illegal drug activities in a condominium in Makati City, which was earlier admitted by Soriano to be hers, although it has already been sold in 2012.

Despite all these claims, Estrada said Morales failed to provide proof to support his statements.

“I am here to extend my full support to the esteemed chairperson conducting these committee hearings. It is our collective responsibility to unearth the truth behind the purported PDEA leaks and utilize it to shape effective legislation. My colleague and I are committed to achieving this objective through a diligent and impartial approach,” he said.

“Ang paksa ng pagdinig ay ang diumano'y PDEA leaks. Pero sinabi na mga opisyal ng PDEA na walang ganitong pangyayari. Morales is saying meron. Nasaan ang ebidensya? Isa sa mga natutunan ko sa law school ay ang legal maxim -- that he who alleges has the burden to prove this. Maliban sa mga statement ni Morales, ano pang ebidensya ang pinakita nya? Wala,” he added.

(The subject of the hearing was the alleged PDEA leaks. But PDEA officials said that there was no such incident. Morales is saying there is. Where is the evidence? One of the things I learned in law school is the legal maxim -- that he who alleges has the burden to prove this. Other than Morales' statements, what other evidence did he show? Nothing.)

Earlier, PDEA Director Moro Virgilio Lazo also questioned the credibility of Morales, whom he claimed had perjured his application to the agency by not disclosing that he was dismissed from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Estrada also noted that Morales was dismissed from government service in 2014 by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) after he admitted planting evidence to two alleged suspects during an anti-drug operation in Pampanga.

He said that based on record, Morales filed an appeal before the Supreme Court, which later upheld the CSC’s ruling.

The lawmaker also said Morales “misinterpreted” himself in a bid to enter the PDEA service after he was “dropped from the rolls” of the PNP due to dishonesty and grave misconduct.

Morales in defense maintained that he was able to comply with the necessary application requirements of the PDEA.

He admitted though that “there are information I declared there (Personal Data Sheet) because I did not know the status of my cases at the time.”

Meanwhile, a heated verbal argument ensued between Morales and Estrada after the former PDEA agent showed a CCTV footage showing him together with Department of Justice (DOJ) anti-cybercrime investigation Agent Romeo Enriquez, who was talking to former National Police Commission (Napolcom) agent Eric Santiago via video call inside his house.

Enriquez served as a PDEA agent for 15 years until 2016, before joining the DOJ in 2018, while Santiago was dropped from the rolls of the Napolcom after going on an absence without official leave.

In last week’s hearing, Morales said Enriquez, Santiago and another person came up to him trying to “fix” him in order for him to no longer attend the ongoing probe.

Based on the CCTV footage, Santiago said they were sent by a certain “Liza Marcos” or “LAM” who allegedly promised to give him what he wants as long as he stops testifying before the Senate.

It can even be heard in the CCTV footage Santiago saying “papatayin yan” while referring to Morales.

Senators expressed doubt over the video which they said was obviously edited.

“Mr. Chair, how can we be sure if the video that is going to be presented before the committee is totally unedited? Knowing this person has a lot of criminal records,” said Estrada.

Committee chairperson Senator Ronald Dela Rosa said they will seek the assistance of the PNP-Anti-Cybercrime Group.

Morales took a jab against Estrada, saying: “Your honor, ay parang hindi naman po maganda ‘yung sinasabi ni Senator Jinggoy Estrada patungkol sa ‘kin. Para namang ako talaga ang hinuhusgahan eh ako’y may kaso pa lang at hindi pa napapatunayan sa hukuman.”

(Your honor, it seems that what Senator Jinggoy Estrada is saying about me is not good. It's like I'm the one being judged because I still have a case and it hasn't been proven in court yet.)

“Hindi kagaya po ang ating butihing senador eh na-convict na po; ay ‘wag naman po ganun,” he added.

(It's not like our good senator who has already been convicted; don't do that.)

“Alam mo Mr. Morales huwag mo pakikialaman ‘yung kaso ko. Problema ko ‘yun. ‘Yung kaso mo ang ayusin mo, ha?” responded Estrada, who was convicted by the Sandiganbayan for bribery in relation to the pork barrel scam.

(You know Mr. Morales, don't interfere with my case. That's my problem. It's your case that you have tp settle.)

Dela Rosa immediately mediated, urging Morales to show some respect not only to Estrada “who was just doing his job” but also to the committee.

Enriquez said he went to Morales’ house “to help a friend in distress.”

He said he and Morales were “very close” as they encountered the same fate while in PDEA service.

Santiago, for his part, said he was not aware that Enriquez was in Morales’s house during their video call conversation.

He admitted making up stories about a certain “LAM” “which he heard from YouTube” in order to catch the attention of the Senate and ask him to testify in the probe.

“Wala akong intension na pigilan (si Morales) at ang totoo ay upang patunayan lang sa taong bayan ang dalawang bagay na napakadali palang mapunta dito. Na gagawa ka lang ng isang kwento kathang isip na kwento sa pamamagitan ng pambobola ay mapupunta ka na dito pangalawa na upang pabulaanan at bigyang kalinawan ang mga bagay bagay na sinasabi ni Morales, sa pamamagitan sa pagpapakita ng mga dokumentong dala ko,” said Santiago.

(I have no intention to stop (Morales), and the truth is I just want to prove to the people two things: that it is very easy to be here. That you will only make a story, a fictional story, through flattery and you will be invited here. Secondly, to refute and clarify the things that Morales is saying, by showing the documents that I brought.)

“Pinasakay ko lang sila sa usapan para makapunta ako dito at mipresenta ang mga dokumento sana na magbibigay linaw sa mga sinasabi ni agent Morales,” he added.

(I just tricked them so I could come here and present the documents that would hopefully clarify what agent Morales was saying.)

Dela Rosa was irked by Santiago’s remark.

He refused Santiago to present the document, which Santiago claimed to clarify and belie the claims of Morales.

He ordered the review first of the documents from Santiago. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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