"Hello Garci" whistle-blower Ong dies of lung cancer

May 22, 2009 9:44 pm 

MANILA, May 22 –Former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deputy director Samuel Ong, who exposed the controversial "Hello, Garci," tape scandal died of lung cancer at 6 p.m. Friday at the Chinese General Hospital.

Ong, 64, used to head several units in NBI during his prime, reportedly suffered from cardiac arrest and doctors even tried to revive him. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.

Former President Joseph Estrada was one of his visitors just few moments before he died.

Quoting radio report, Estrada said he was heading back to his house when he learned of the death of the former controversial official.

He said Ong held his hands tightly during his visit, but the latter failed to talk to him.

Ong's 93-year-old father and all his siblings, Henry Ong, Carmelita Ong-Paterno, and Lydia Gomez – were by his side before he passed away.

Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani administered the sacrament of the anointing of the sick shortly before Ong died.

Ong accused President Arroyo of rigging May 2004 elections. The "Hello, Garci" tapes allegedly contained conversation between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

Ong, in June 10, 2005 press conference in Makati City, claimed that he possessed the tape.

While admitting that she did talk to a poll official, the President denied ever engaging in the alleged rigging of the May 2004 polls.

Garcillano also denied the allegation.

(PNA)

RMA/JES

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