Defensor’s bombshell

The media offensive began last night, and continued this morning, as Newsstand has blogged. At the notorious (politically) Sulo Hotel in Quezon City, birthplace of “dagdag-bawas” (vote cutting and shaving), Sec. Michael Defensor has been holding a rambling press conference, in an effort to debunk at least portions of the controversial “Hello, Garci” audio tapes.

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Looted from

“It is the voice of the president, but it is not the President talking.” His basic point, an expert in the United States, “Mr. Dickey,” (hat tip to Newsstand for looking up who he is), hired by Defensor on his own initiative and he says, with his own money. Dickey says at least two conversations were doctored and faked, that is, manipulated digitally or by splicing. The conversations in question, “Will I still lead by 1m?” and the “Yung dagdag, yung dagdag” (explosively revealed by PCIJ). Press in an uproar: questions suggest that all the administration has proven is that the government can doctor tapes pretty well, too.

Defensor (paraphrased here): the impeachment complaint contains so many quotes from audio tracks; we had them checked; at least some are doctored; so, if we had known this two months ago, I would have advised the President not to speak on the subject of the tapes.

He says what the opposition did, was “voice identification,” which he says they (the administration) hasn’t done; then a fast and furious exchange:

Aleks Pablico: We did analysis.

Defensor: No such analysis.

Pablico: We had independent experts…

Defensor: No authentication

Pablico: There was.

Defensor: No.

Pablico: You’re James Bond right, making comments in our blog?

Defensor: (Ignores it)… The Bunye tape didn’t have “dagdag.” I haven’t seen any authentification.

Then the expert (who sounds awfully Filipino in a mestizo sort of way).

Conyo-sounding fellow: All versions came from one tape, and they’re mutations, because we don’t know where that tape came from.

(Some time later, shifty-eyed, overweight “Filipino sound engineer”: I never really listened to them, you need the originals, since there’s no original, I view them all as suspect.. You need voice identification to determine if it’s the President or not the President on the tape)

A media colleague I texted to get his impressions of the spectacle says, “He [Defensor] ducks and weaves to the tune of a cunning script.”

Tina Panganiban-Perez has been zeroing in with tough questions. Why take so long? Why only now? Why did Bunye present a doctored tape?

Defensor: (time and again) I do not know the ano, the kwan…

Sounds incoherent? You bet. The press conference (now over as of around 12:45) was largely incoherent, because apples were being compared to oranges. Senator Panfilo Lacson went as far as to challenge Defensor (who says sure, if “we have enough resources to do so”) to send the 3 hour tape for analysis to Dickey. Lacson rather sensibly says, if you send garbage (which he says the Paguia tape, which is what Defensor sent to Dickie), the audio analyst will declare what was sent as garbage.

Defensor’s claim with regard to the “locals”: “its not political, I don’t even know their political leanings, if any.” In the end, Defensor retreated behind the defense that specifics (was it the President’s voice, for example?) are beyond his ken to discuss, because the President is facing impeachment, but that “beyond authenticating voices,” the two conversations were doctored, Dickey says.

But to choose one and ignore the other ignores the need to do both. And this goes back to a point I made a long time ago: authenticate the tape(s), preferably through the FBI or a similar organization. The problem with doing this, is that it might prove harmful to both sides.

A colleague also listening to the tape, pointed out, Defensor’s saying he spent his own cash permits plausible deniability on the part of the Palace, in case Defensor’s stunt proves a flop; but that fundamentally, the problem is, the public has made up its mind, pretty much, on the tape; and that while confusing the issue, Defensor’s stunt has resulted in Lacson calling Defensor’s bluff.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

20 thoughts on “Defensor’s bombshell

  1. in the western visayas region, people have a particular label for people who prattle they are called “basa baba” roughly translated wet mouthed as in salivating tsismoso or tsismosa it is pathetic for those in malacañang to have one in this particular event

  2. to believe or not to… that, is the question.

    too late the hero, defensor may be trying
    his best to save the queen who sits on borrowed throne.

    gma is doing all she can to focus on survival. Because of this, ALL government programs are ON-HOLD. The PNP training for new police recruits is one. WHAT IS THIS ADMINISTRATION TRYING TO DO? Everything is on a stand-still because gma says so!

    ANO YAN?

  3. The Close-minded rascals
    Editorial, The Freeman, August 12, 2005

    There has got to be something wrong somewhere when individuals or entire societies begin to accept one side of the story as entirely right and the other side of the story as entirely wrong.

    What that situation suggests is that close-mindedness has set in, or at least is becoming apparent that is the direction it is headed. When that happens, the open-mindedness that has been responsible for the growth and development of mankind will come to a complete stop.

    Mankind will consequently stagnate, preferring to settle on that which its closed mind has dictated. There is no more excitement in pursuing a question, pride in the triumph of discovery, honor in having made some contribution to society.

    That situation is what is slowly creeping in on Philippine society, as evidenced by how some people assume the political opposition to be saints who can do no wrong and the administration to be demons who can do no right.

    The crisis that has engulfed the country is not simply about President Arroyo having allegedly cheated her way to victory or of her family having accepted bribes from illegal gambling lords.

    If it were as simple as that, then not even all the angels in heaven can stop the ouster of Arroyo from power. But that is not how it works. And so there are open-minded people who do not immediately jump to conclusions and take immediate drastic action.

    Their open-mindedness forces them to take a look at a wider perspective, to look at the entire forest instead of just focusing on a few trees. And that allows them to see the bigger problem, which is that everybody else is just as corrupt and as a cheat as is allegedly Arroyo.

    In other words, while it may be right to remove Arroyo on the basis of such perception, it is gravely wrong to remove her on eth basis of the say-so of those who are just as tainted as she is, or worse.

    And even more terrible scenario is if, upon removal, Arroyo is replaced by the very people who are accusing her, people who are clearly far worse than she is. It is not only an injustice to Arroyo, it is an injustice to the entire Filipino people.

    Only the open-mindedness of people has so far prevented such a scenario from happening. (But let us not be complacent because like they say “the devil never rests.”).

  4. it’s interesting to note that he spent his own money (as he said) to have his version of the garci tapes examined by an expert to the tune of $3,500 dollars. for a pobinsiyana in mindanao like me, that is a lot of mollah. Infact, i haven’t seen that much money in my entire 34 years. So, are we to believe that it wasn’t PGMA after all, because an expert who analyzed only 2 tracks of those tapes said so? And it was supposedly to shed light yet the way I see it, it’s confusing all the more. I wonder how he could get his money back. Hmmm….

  5. Talaga namang splice na yung pnatignan ni defensor at gnastusan pa ng kalaking halaga kasi inamin naman ni paguia dahil nilagyan nga nya ng mga annotations…hay naku sana ginamit na lang ang pera sa pagpapakain sa mga taong nagugutom ngayon…bka iboto pa si mike sa susunod na election. What a waste!!! Am sure di sa bulsa nya kinuha yung pnanggastos nya dun kundi sa kaban ng bayan. Utos ba ni mam o kasama sa strategy para me maniwala pa sa mga sinasabi ninyo…siempre sino ba naman ang me hawak ng kaban. Kung buhay pa ang lola ko, bka maniwala pa sa inyo kaso patay na sya at wala ng matanda sa bahay namin.

  6. Manolo,

    It’s Alecks Pabico. 🙂

    I just would like to supply the context to that exchange. I asked Sec. Defensor a question considering that he’s saying the Paguia tape is spliced. I told him that the Bunye tapes, both the allegedly “original” and “spliced” versions, also contain the “yung dagdag” portion. I said we got hold of an analysis made by an independent audio expert that says they’re not spliced (well, at least as far as the “yung dagdag” part is concerned, because the allegedly “original” version was found to be heavily spliced). Since there’s reason to believe they all came from the three-hour recording, I just wondered why his version says otherwise. Could it be that his version has been tampered with?

    And then I saw the mestizo-looking but very Filipino expert, Jim Sarthou, who I recall is a regular visitor of our blog, whose alias is jimsband, not James Bond. I sought his acknowledgement that we’ve been posting independent analyses of the tapes that have come out. But he said he doubts all of them now, because they’re all annotated. The annotation is standard ISAFP practice, and is explained in this blog post.

    And a clarification, the Dickey analysis did not categorically say that the “yung dagdag” portion was spliced. In fact, the foreign expert said it will rquire further analysis. The report wasn’t that conclusive at all. Check my blog post.

  7. Given the spliced tapes, naturally the it will be suspect and show signs of splicing: garbage in, garbage out as Lacson says. Defensor’s argument is that the splices come in certain parts within the voices — proof the engineers say is the noise signature which should remain consistent through all voices.

    One glaring miscue I wished was asked by reporters is that, assuming all the above were true, is the same “anomaly” found for all the sentences uttered in the female’s (GMA?) voice? If so, then and only then will can it be said that there was something wrong. You can cast the cloud on who could have spliced it, but did the conversation occur? That question will not be answered by the tapes alone.

    If the noise signature anomaly is not found throughout the individual sentences, will context of the conversation be changed? You do not need an audio expert in the latter investigation, what you will need is a language and cognitive specialist. Under the scenario presented in the tapes, is it possible to have a conversation to flow along those lines and answers. That would answer if the sentences are indeed correct and accurate records of an actual conversation.

    “Dagdag” versus “Binalbagan” according to Defensor — that gma’s statement of “Yung dagdag” was created from the “Bag” in Binalbagan spliced to sound “dag-dag”…

    Well, if we follow his argument, what is she doing talking to an election commisioner in the first place?

    Taipan you are right when survivability is at stake, everything else is on-hold. This is no longer about the truth alone, it is about trust.

  8. Ah now I hope it will just keep rolling quickly downhill. This is too much. Is Defensor credible enough to debunk the tapes? Does he expect us to believe his machinations? The frigging nerve of that guy. This is too much. Bunye. Gonzales. Arroyo. Defensor. The deluded opportunist opposition. They’re all playing us for fools and idiots and all we can do is rant and blog.

  9. Analysis…analysis…do they really think we are going to accept their word – hook, line and sinker – just because they (incompetently) say so? How many versions of this tape are going around? Makes things even more confusing when individuals are authenticating THE tape on their own. What they should find out first is WHO the source of the tape is, then work from there.
    There’s one thing freaking me out. I might be wrong, but it seems ISAPF is the source of the tape..and if it is, does that mean there could be a deeper agenda that we are not seeing? I am not one for conspiracy theories…but it’s just too weird for the top government intelligence agency to be involved in all this. Do individuals within the agency have the power to tap the president’s phone line? I don’t think so. So, what is the agency’s motive in all this and who is ultimately behind it? Defensor should be more worried about that than the authenticity of THE tape.

  10. ano ba ang trabaho nitong si defensor, sa denr ba o sa propaganda or anti-propaganda ni gma, kawawa naman si gma. she is sinking faster with people like defensor, bunyi and and sino ba yon may balbas na nagpapakilala na secretary. oo nga pala secretary nga pala siya ng cabinet pero nakakalimutan niyang sabihen na hinde ng anoman department. kawawang presidente, kung ako siya si ermita na lang should do all the talking

  11. i dont get it! i remember watching the news before with mike justifying the meaning of “Yung dagdag, yung dagdag” then suddenly he’s claiming that this is the doctored part of the garci tape..

  12. Akala ko napulawi na ang mga “tuta” mula noong EDSA I. Nagre-regenate pala ang mga tuta, gaya noong masasamang damo.

  13. kawawa naman taong bayan kasi sure ang pinambayad e pera ng bayan.tas sasabihin ni defensor sya nagbayad ng analysis e bakit kaya di natin sya paimbestigahan kung saan sya kukuha ng ganun kalaking pambayad sa isang experto?sa jueteng din kaya galing yaman nya?hmmmmmmmmmm

  14. season ng pilipinas bagyo,lindol,edsa at jueteng scandal….aba four seasons na pala dyan….

  15. if defensor’s bluff is true something else is in a brewing trouble: the president had been ill-advised.

    If she follows someone else’s prodding then who is in control of Malacañang????

  16. There is one thing that defensor succeeded in that he put the authenticity of the tapes into question.

  17. Actually, it all boils down to who is worse:
    Arroyo, or those despirately trying to kick her out of malacanang?

    Or, who are we worse off with? Them or her?

    Personally, i’d rather stick with arroyo, ‘cuz if she ever gets out at this point, it would be a blood bath.

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