MANILA - Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has found basis to file a perjury case against former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.
Garcillano, who became controversial because of the “Hello, Garci” election scandal, was accused of falsely testifying under oath and presenting a spurious passport during the Congressional Joint Committee Hearing in December 2005.
The controversy arose when audio recordings of a telephone conversation between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Garcillano were released months after the 2004 presidential elections, which Arroyo officially won over the late Fernando Poe Jr..
The recordings indicated that Arroyo asked Garcillano to fix the elections in her favor. Arroyo later admitted talking to a Comelec official she did not name and apologized.
In her 13-page resolution last March 18, Morales said Garcillano made a deliberate and willful assertion of a falsehood during the congressional hearing when he testified that he never left the Philippines after the “Hello Garci” controversy broke out.
She took note of the note verbale of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore dated August 31, 2005 that Garcillano “transited in Singapore on 14 July 2005 on board a Learjet 35 with the registration number RP-C-1426” and “departed Singapore on 15 July 2005 on board Singapore Airlines Flight SQ 320.”
The Ombudsman also said Garcillano violated the Philippine Passport Act when he presented an alleged forged passport.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Laboratory Examination Report dated March 20, 2006 concluded that Garcillano’s passport does not conform to standard after discovering badges of forgery such as:
(i) smaller size of booklet;
(ii) variance in the paper and print used in the inside front and back covers;
(iii) additional stitching along the seam;
(iv) presence of cuts and joints along the seam; and
(v) presence of the text “Bisa-Visa” on the upper portion of, and variance in the print quality of certain text on page 32 of the passport.
Morales said the “[r]espondent, being in possession of the forged passport and the one to benefit from its presentation before the Congressional Joint Committee, is presumed to be forger.”
She dismissed the charge of falsification by a Public Officer under Article 171(2) of the Revised Penal Code against Garcillano, however.
“[R]espondent, although a public officer, acted not by reason of his office, his position as a Comelec Commissioner not having anything to do with the issuance of a passport,” she said.