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.
Looted from Inq7.net
“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.
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.