MANILA, Philippines – The group of policemen who turned over original election returns (ERs) to the Department of Justice (DoJ) never said that Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) won the 2004 presidential elections.
This was the statement of lawyer Vic Rodriguez, the legal counsel of Superintendent Rafael Santiago of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Unit (SAF) and five of his men.
“Hindi ho sinasabi ni Col. Santiago at ng kanyang grupo na si FPJ ang nanalo. Hindi din ho nila sinasabi na si GMA ang nanalo,” Rodriguez clarified. “Paglabas ho nila, ang sinasabi nila nagkadayaan noong 2004 elections. Now, it’s up for other authorities, the Comelec (Commission on Elections) perhaps to determine who really won, if we could still establish yung mga dokumentong mga kinakailangan”.
In an interview with radio dzMM on Saturday, Rodriguez said the group came out in the open to reveal what they know about the alleged cheating that happened during the presidential elections in 2004.
“There is nothing for them to gain in coming out kung wala namang katotohanan ang kanilang tangang-tangan na istorya,” Rodriguez said.
On Friday, Santiago’s group went to the Department of Justice and turned over the remaining election returns which were in their possession for 6 years. They also stressed that they were not “party to the scheme of cheating” during the 2004 presidential elections.
“Yung hinahanap nating katotohanan tungkol sa 2004 elections heto na ho at naglalabasan. Ang hindi ko ho maunawaan sa iba, bakit ho parang nagdududa. Wala naman hong gain ang mga taong ito kung gagawa lang ng kwento,” Rodriguez said.
Santiago said on Friday that they were ordered to provide access and security “to those who operated in order to cover up their trail”. However, they could not immediately reveal the truth as they felt it wasn’t the right time then.
“Lumalabas ho ang mga taong ito dahil nakaramdam na ng better political climate,” Rodriguez said.
Santiago also appealed on Friday to other participants like them to come out and “be gentleman enough like a SAF trooper to accept their participation”.
The group said they are prepared to go all the way in revealing the truth despite the possible repercussions they might receive by going public.
“Hindi namin natapos ang affidavit dahil sa sobrang nerbiyos ng buong grupo niya dahil natatakot sila sa repercussion ng kanilang action, hindi yung legal ha, kung di yung physical harm and threat na they will definitely be subjected to,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez issued a warning to those who are trying to “dilute” the integrity and credibility of Santiago.
He said Santiago received a Gold Cross Award in 1987 and a Bronze Cross Award in 1989. He added that in both instances, Santiago got the awards while “defending and upholding the Constitution” from those who threatened the then administration of then President Cory Aquino.
“Ang inaayos na lang namin dito siguro bahagi ng kasaysayan at pati na rin ho ang electoral reforms na sana ay maipatupad na ng ating gobyerno,” he said.