by Fernan A. Gianan
As of presstime last Monday, March 16, 2020, there was no word from former Congressman Cesar Sarmiento as his official statement on his alleged involvement in the shabu laboratory issue. An aide said the statement was still being evaluated by his lawyers.
In an impromptu press interview last week, shabu lab witness Ernesto “Entoy” Tabor Jr. had his credibility questioned by some members of the media, who were skeptical that he did not mention the alleged involvement of the congressman when he first executed his affidavit on the shabu lab operation.
He claimed he feared for his life then, as Sarmiento was a very powerful member of Congress and had influence not only in the top echelons of government but also in the police establishment.
Last week, a reliable source told the Tribune that during Tabor’s testimony for the prosecution in the trial of the accused at the Makati City Regional Trial Court, the presiding judge had an opportunity to test the witness’ credibility.
This came when Tabor allegedly said that during the time that he was employed as a confidential agent at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in 2015, he regularly played tennis with then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima at the 6th floor of the EDSA Shangri-La Manila.
At one time, he told the Court, he and the secretary left by another exit, with Tabor leaving behind his NBI identification card at the front desk.
The judge ordered that the Shangri-La management be subpoenaed to produce the ID, if it was still there after five years.
Surprisingly, according to the source, the hotel management complied and produced Tabor’s NBI ID card bearing the signature of then Security Management Division chief Mario Garcia.
It may be recalled that in his counter-affidavit, alleged shabu lab mastermind and former NBI regional director Atty. Eric Augusto Isidoro debunked Tabor’s allegations as mere general statements wanting in evidence and substantiation.
He said Tabor was not an NBI asset and nor was Tabor his bodyguard during his time as chief of the NBI’s anti-illegal drugs unit, as attested by Garcia and three NBI employees.
It is still too early to tell if the witness’ case against the former congressman would stand scrutiny in the Court.
In 2019, he told this writer in an interview that he and his boss, whom he called Tay Eric, had a picture taken with Sarmiento at his Igang residence, but he could not present proof.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on local business establishments and their workers.
Several hotels and resorts have temporarily ceased operations, sending most of their workers home. The two malls have limited their operations to the grocery sections as well as drug stores.
With restaurants expected to follow the Metro Manila practice of allowing only take-out orders, more workers will be losing their weekly pay.
The curfew now being implemented by several municipalities will also limit the operations of small businesses, just like what happened to many local producers of pilinut candies, “latik” and the like who lost a healthy market for their goods with the suspension of air travel to Manila.
CLOCKS IN HEAVEN. A man in the hospital died of a sickness and went up to heaven. Before he could enter he had to go to a sort of office building, he noticed the office walls were covered in clocks. He asked the angel working at the desk,
“What are these clocks for?”
To which the angel replied, “These clocks move 1 minute for every lie someone tells or told.”
The man points to a clock, “Whose is this?”
The angel tells him, “This is Abraham Lincoln’s clock, it has only moved 2 minutes, indicating he only told 2 lies.”
The man points at another clock.
The angel says, “That is Mother Teresa’s clock, it hasn’t moved at all.”
The man then asks the angel, “Where is the President’s clock?
To which the angel replies, “In Jesus’ Office, he’s using it as a ceiling fan.”