Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, February 29, 2008

Arroyo adviser denies link to oil smuggling

An influential policy adviser of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday denied that he is involved in oil smuggling activities as alleged during the Senate investigation into the $329-million National Broadband Network deal.

In a press statement, Tomas I. Alcantara -- who is also the chair of the Alcantara Group of Companies -- took exception to the testimony of opposition figure Angelito Banayo.

During the Senate hearing, Banayo said he remembered then National Economic and Development Authority Director General Romulo Neri mention in a meeting that “Tommy Alcantara” was the person behind the initials “TA” which Neri had included in his presentation as those involved in oil smuggling.

The meeting was held in a restaurant at the AIM Conference Center in Makati City in December 2007 with Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, Banayo, and staff members of the senators present.

“Ridiculous!” Alacantara said in his statement. “I have absolutely no involvement in any form of illegal activity, much less oil smuggling.”

“If Secretary Neri or anyone, including Mr. Lozada or Mr. Banayo, have any proof to the contrary, I demand that they come out with it in the open, instead of resorting to hearsay, innuendo and trial by publicity, so that I could defend myself in the proper forum, the media included,” he said. By Daxim Lucas - Philippine Daily Inquirer



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