Lawyers behaving badly. And stupidly.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Avelino Razon Jr. confirmed a new attempt to overthrow the Arroyo government, with the arrest of five of the suspects allegedly involved in a â€œproposal to commit coup d’etatâ€. One of the suspects is former lawmaker and now minor opposition figure Homobono (â€œCall me Bono, not Homoâ€) Adaza. Four other military and police officers were also brought into custody.
Also charged were Army Lieutenant Colonel Oscarlito Mapalo, retired Colonels Ernie Amboy and Cesar dela Pena, and police Superintendent Rafael Cardeno.
Aside from coup d’etat, complaints of swindling and estafa were also brought against them. Now thatâ€™s an strange mix of crimes. While toppling the government, why not make a little money on the side ?
In the middle of all this is attorney Raymond â€œArchieâ€ Fortun, lawyer to the stars. Archie is the younger brother and erstwhile law partner of Siegfried Fortun, who represented Erap during his impeachment proceedings and subsequent corruption trial.
Atty. Fortun blew the whistle on the alleged coup plotters, and claimed that Adazaâ€™s OMT Security Services, Inc. attempted to solicit US$4 million or P160 million from his Japanese client â€œin order to finance a coup dâ€™etat,â€ to be organized by Adazaâ€™s â€œfriends in the militaryâ€.
It appears, however, that â€œsolicitâ€ is too mild a word. Extort is probably a more apt term, if we are to believe Fortunâ€™s convoluted tale of soured business relationships, skullduggery and even a planned kidnapping and, possibly, an inept stab at extortion.
It seems Mr. Fortun has a Japanese client, a Motonori Sakuma, who was involved in the development of a beach resort in Marinduque province. Mr. Sakuma, for whatever reason, wanted to be rid of his Filipino partners, Messrs. Manuel Copon and Emmanuel Galdo. Sakuma, with the knowledge of Fortun, tapped Adaza, his security agency and his military and police buddies to do the job.
Adaza and company promptly came up with a plan. In fact, three plans. Plan A involved filing trumped-up charges against Sakuraâ€™s 2 Filipino partners. Plan B was a bit more ruthless, involving the actual picking-up of Copon and Galdo and allegedly turning them over to the tender mercies of the National Bureau of Investigation for whatever crimes could be brought against them.
Comes the even weirder part. Plan C was for Adazaâ€™s group to stage a coup dâ€™etat against the Arroyo government to be bankrolled by Sakura. How this would help him dump his Filipino partners is anyoneâ€™s guess. Presumably, in the confusion and violence of an actual coup, Copon and Galdo could be dealt with â€œwith extreme prejudiceâ€. Towards this end, the plotters began to pressure Sakura to cough up US$4 million for the â€œcoupâ€. In fact, per Fortun, they we demanding US$ 10 million at one point.
This naturally alarmed Mr. Fortun, who now believed that OMT could either kill Copon and Galdo and pin the blame on him and Sakura, or kill the two of them for knowing two much. So he went to the authorities.
This begs the question as to why Fortun was even planning what seem to be illegal acts against Sakuraâ€™s partners in the first place. From his own statements, he may be just as guilty as Adaza and company. It was just his fear of their “coup pals”, to use the late Louie Beltran’s phrase, turning against them that prompted him to report the matter.
Bono Adaza has always perceived himself as a maverick. Heâ€™s an odd duck, to be sure. And his involvement in this latest caper puts a new twist to a colorful and checkered political career. But I donâ€™t think he was seriously planning a coup. The administration rightfully pooh-poohed his capability to pull it off. This appears to be about two lawyers trying to put one over the other. Now Adaza and Fortun are at each otherâ€™s throats.
The problem with lawyers from U.P. is they think they can bring their campus hi-jinks into the real world and get away with it.
Updates: No coup, according to the military.
Coup raps filed against Adaza et. al.
Adaza turns the tables on Fortun, accusing him as the one who was involved in the alleged destabilization plot and blasting the Arroyo administration for allegedly prosecuting members of the opposition.
Adaza files a slew of charges against Fortun, PNP officials.