I HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN. Despite all the distractions since the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee ended its hearings on the P6.4 billion shabu haul, I still want to know who Tita Nanie is. More than that, I want to know where she’s been hiding.
As to her identity, two possibilities were ruled out by the BRC on August 22. But at the sensational September 7 session (when Paolo Duterte and Mans Carpio were present), Senator Ping Lacson identified Tita Nanie as a certain “Nimfa Alcantara Cabato.” In the same hearing, Senator Sonny Trillanes named her as a “Nanie Cabato-Coronacion,” adding that Cabato-Coronacion had already been interviewed by the DOJ on September 4. He concluded, with obvious relief, “I believe this time we got it right…hopefully.”
There was no one from the DOJ that day to corroborate or deny his statement. Significantly, NBI agents tasked to locate Tita Nanie who were then present did not contradict or correct Trillanes. I assume that as responsible officers of the law, they would have if they had information contrary to his.
BRC Chair Dick Gordon concluded the hearings on the drug aspect on September 25 and vowed to submit his preliminary committee report presently.
BRC DRAFT REPORT
Gordon released the draft BRC report on October 10. It recommended, among other things, that charges be filed against Mark Ruben Taguba and Richard Tan, along with Nicanor Faeldon and key Customs personnel. The report also cited SOJ Vitaliano Aguirre for “seeming complacency” and a “lack of urgency” in prosecuting the case. This was a caustic rebuke at Aguirre for his deficient handling of the case, demonstrated by his bumbling performance at the September 19 hearing, the highlight of which was his conclusion (“quoted” he said) that “baka patay na ang kaso” due to cracks in the chain of custody. This limp posture (by the SOJ, no less!) had Gordon slapping the table and shouting across the hall in frustration. “Such cavalier treatment of a serious case, like this, is not becoming of a justice secretary,“ the report huffed.
Despite this, Lacson found the report wanting, saying that the recommended charges against BOC officials were not strong enough. “I have not signed it. Chairman Gordon said he will make an addendum once he received my comments. Kulang ang findings and the recommendation of Chairman Richard Gordon are not consistent with what was discussed, not only during the hearings but in the committee report itself,” Lacson told the press.
Trillanes was more loudly upset with the report and vowed to challenge it in the plenary for being no more than an attempt to “cover up” the involvement of Paolo and Mans in the drug trade. “If Senator Gordon is really serious in getting to the bottom of this mess, then he shouldn’t terminate the hearing and clear Paolo Duterte of involvement until Nanie Cabato-Coronacion a.k.a. Tita Nanie is located,” he added.
And that’s really what I’ve been waiting for.
I waded through those tedious hearings and endured Gordon’s histrionics expecting that the BRC would follow every lead in this shameful transaction. I’m not naïve; I know that Gordon wouldn’t really allow Paolo and Mans to be implicated in this mess. However, I was sanguinely hoping he would follow up on the whereabouts of Tita Nanie. I’m dying of curiosity.
On September 19, he made a report of his efforts, which was quite Dutertesque in its vagueness:
“Wala pa kaming nakukuha kay Tita Nanie. Pinapahanap ko pa ‘yan. Pinasok ko dumating na eroplano noong 18, walang dumating… Sinasabing 17 at walang babaeng nagpi-fit kay Nanie do’n. Sa Clark may bidding ng generator pero ‘di namin makita kung ando’n ‘yung Nanie. Kailangan talaga meron tayo makuha na magtuturo kay Nanie.”
I wonder why he doesn’t simply ask the DOJ where she is.
That would have been the easiest thing to do, since Trillanes informed the BRC that the DOJ interviewed her on September 4 – an assertion no one questioned or contested. It is, in fact, preserved in the Senate records. So the DOJ had knowledge of her whereabouts then; presumably they’ve been keeping her within reach since it’s in the public interest to do so. Furthermore, the Senate mandated the NBI to locate her. If the NBI was unaware of the September 4 interview, then it should have looked into it after Trillanes publicly revealed it, if there were any intention to uncover the truth. (That last phrase: I’m being ironic.)
It’s amazing that at the September 19 hearing when Gordon grilled Aguirre, the NBI, and the PDEA for over an hour, he never once asked them what happened in the September 4 interview with Tita Nanie. He never sought confirmation of whether that interview actually took place or not, what transpired if it did, and where they had found her and brought her. He told the press that he needed someone to actually identify Tita Nanie so she can be found. Well, he could’ve asked the DOJ and put their responses on record, but he did not.
Instead he absolved the so-called Davao Group because there was “no evidence presented against them.”
The thing about a cover-up is that the truth persistently, and often in the most mortifying way, will out. It’s only a matter of time.
The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. – Luke 12:2