WHISTLEBLOWER Sandra Cam on Friday directly linked President Benigno Aquino III to a government official who was allegedly assigned to stalk her, claiming the latter had worked as a legal officer for Aquino 27 years ago.
Cam said President Aquino was the boss of Alex Almario long before he became assistant secretary for Agrarian Reform.
Almario, whom Cam accused of trying to pressure her into keeping silent about the pork barrel scam, was a former provincial board member and district chairman of Aquino’s Liberal Party in Masbate.
On June 10, 2010, a month after the presidential polls, Almario wrote a letter to the editor in a national broadsheet glorifying “Sir Noy” and his straight path, and attacking his predecessor, Cam said.
“Who is Malacanang kidding? Almario, a lawyer, was an LP official who is close to Senate President (Franklin) Drilon and even closer to President Aquino for having worked and lawyered for him many years ago. President Aquino was his boss and they all are still together up to now,” Cam said, reacting to the Palace’s denial that the government was stalking her after Almario’s visit to her April 30.
In a statement, Almario said he was stuck in traffic returning from Tagaytay and decided to make a social call to Cam, who was not around at the time of his visit.
Almario claimed he and Cam were friends, with both of them coming from Masbate, but Cam said they were never friends.
“President Aquino, Drilon and Almario were not only party mates. They worked together and campaigned together after all these years,” Cam said.
In his letter to the editor, Almario said little had been made public about Aquino’s qualities that would define his leadership.
“I learned about a couple of such qualities—his strong character and work ethic – when not too long ago I worked as legal officer in a small Makati-based firm which then 27-year-old Noynoy managed,” Almario wrote.
“Sir Noy (as we fondly addressed him) is the kind who outright sets company directions and promptly has these ingrained in his subordinates’ consciousness. He leaves no stone unturned in pursuing such directions to achieve pre-set goals,” Almario said in his letter.
Almario described Mr. Aquino as having an “impeccable work ethic.”
“He is a textbook example of an executive partial to good office attendance, without disregarding legislated work breaks, holidays. Never the ‘slave-driver’ type, he has his own peculiar and sometimes funny way of dealing with tardy-gallivanting-recalcitrant employees. He catches their attention through cool and kind words laced with conscience-knocking reminders that always have to do with company viability, integrity and social responsibility; subordinates usually emerge from the subtle lecture a much-better, result-oriented employee,” Almario said.
“Once a department head reported late for work. After briefly talking to him, Sir Noy required him to do 10 push-ups right there and then. Without batting an eyelash, the fellow willingly obliged, his way of acknowledging and atoning for his malfeasance,” he said.
Cam said Almario’s letter showed he knew the President well.
“Almario obviously knew the President personally such that when he described his work ethic four years ago, the description came out so accurately. Wasn’t the President the kind who would humiliate or embarrass a government employee or official in public, but in a funny and sarcastic way?” Cam said.
Despite the denials from the Palace, said the harassment continued, with her son being tailed by unidentified men Thursday.
“I have been in various difficult and dangerous situations but it was only last Thursday that my son and his friends complained that they were tailed by unidentified men,” Cam said. Cam said she felt that the government had no qualms in letting her and her family know about their stalking, which started with Almario’s visit and several cars – with no license plates and the engine running -- doing a nightly stakeout across her place.