'Garci boys' still in Comelec, says poll chief

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2012 04:12 PM | Updated as of Nov 24 2012 12:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has moved on from the alleged electoral fraud in 2004, keeping officials accused of involvement in 2004 in poll duty for 2013.

Chairman Sixto Brillantes says that the so-called "Garci boys," election officials allegedly tapped by former elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcilliano to rig the elections in 2004, are still in office and may no longer be held accountable for that elections.

Brillantes added they are even among the regional directors involved in the nationwide reshuffle between December 2012 and January 2013.

This reshuffle, he explained, will put in place the officials for their election day duties next year.

"This has been traditional kapag malapit na ang elections. Reshuffle, not reassignments for the purpose of elections. Main purpose of the resolution is most of election officers and provincial election supervisors have been assigned for several years, we don't want them to be there for the election period,” said Brillantes.

Brillantes said that for the "Garci boys" to be removed, they have to be subjected to administrative proceedings, which were already dismissed in 2007.

The so-called “Garci boys” are reportedly: Renato Magbutay, Francisco Pobe, Renault Macarambon, Teopisto Elnas Jr, Cirilo Nala, Jr. and Ray Sumalipao.

Brillantes added that looking into the alleged fraud in the 2004 polls is no longer a priority.

"Mayroon, pero ‘di namin priority. [Nu’ng] 2004 pa ito, ano ba naman huhukayin pa namin sa 2004? Mahihirapan na nga sa documents, remember we had a fire here in 2007. Halos hirap na ng records, we have to constitute the records," he said.

Brillantes said the Senate may investigate the 2004 polls but has no authority to go into the criminal aspects.

Brillantes, however, explained while the 5-year prescription period for those involved in 2004 expired already, the prescription period for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regarding the 2004 elections is good until 2015.

“Iba ‘yung posisyon namin sa president, she cannot be charged while incumbent prescription period starts only when she leaves office, 2015 pwede pa," he said.