MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) was asked yesterday to tell the truth on the “Hello, Garci” scandal in 2004, although former election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano could no longer be prosecuted.
In an interview, Eric Alvia, National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) secretary general, said none of those implicated in the scandal had been prosecuted, and that the public has the right to know the truth.
“That’s sad because I’m sure the officials who are supposed to handle these cases are cognizant or aware of the timeline or limitation,” he said.
“They should have pursued it in the past years. I don’t know if they dragged their feet to, you know, have favorable results for the violators.”
Garcillano was reportedly wiretapped discussing with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the manipulation of the 2004 elections to favor her re-election.
The five-year prescription period for the election offenses had already expired and no case has been filed against Comelec and military officials mentioned in the conversation.
It has not been established whether the prescription period for Arroyo’s prosecution had also lapsed.
Alvia said the Comelec must tell the public the truth, although criminal cases could no longer be pursued against Garcillano and other implicated officials.
“They can tell the public that based on our findings – but unfortunately because of technicality in the law, we are not able to pursue or it is futile to pursue the case – but this is the truth, this is what happened. It is incumbent on them to do that,” he said.