Two Filipinos, Leandro Aragoncillo and Michael Ray Aquino, were charged with espionage today, for having shared secret US Government information on the Philippines. Aragoncillo, an American FBI intelligence analyst (of Filipino descent, I’m guessing from the name) seems to have been working for Aquino, downloading and printing classified documents relating to Filipino government officials. Aquino (no relation to Cory) was a senior superintendent in the PAOCTF (Presidential Anti-Organized-Crime Task Force), an Estrada/Lacson institution, and was implicated in the murder of Bubby Dacer. Possibly a conspiracy related to the opposition cabal’s attempts at a power grab?
More in the news:
- ABS-CBN News.
- CBS2, New York.
- Washington Post.
- New York Times.
- Gloucester County Times, NJ
- AP via Fox News.
Probably the first thing that jumped out at me from this story was that Aquino was not initially charged with conspiracy, but was arrested by immigration authorities for overstaying his tourist visa. (In other words, nag-TNT*.) He was found living in Queens. Yes, Queens. Are there nice neighborhoods in Queens, or did he just fancy the “urban decay” chic? It was only later, when Aragoncillo tried to intervene by vouching for his friend, that additional investigation uncovered the abuse of intelligence material. “Pakiusap lang pare, i-print mo yung documents.” **
Update: More from Kingdom of Chaos and Rant Street. Apparently Aragoncillo was half a million dollars in debt. How does one rack up so much debt? Gambling? Buying a mansion with 100% downpayment?
Ping Lacson has already preempted conspiracy speculation by publicly stating he expects the admin to link him to the case. Considering Lacson’s history as a Marcos/Erap crony, Gloria opponent, and crafty political power player, I think it would be imprudent not to implicate him.
PCIJ has more details, including background info on Aquino and Aragoncillo, and a PDF of the official criminal complaint.
The official Lacson press release gives Aquino a nickname of “Ninoy,” attempting to sweeten his reputation via association with a prior Filipino hero, then praises him as a true “Filipino patriot.” Because after all, true Filipino patriots overstay their US tourist visas.
* TNT – tago nang tago, literally, “hide-hide,” referring to some Filipinos’ method of using tourist visas to gain access to the USA, then stay under Immigration’s radar till they can get work.
** “Just do me a favor, buddy, and print the documents.”