Election watchdog head Henrietta de Villa of the National Movement for Free Election (NAMFREL) expressed her worry over the recent appointment of a retired military officer involved in the controversial Hello Garci scandal as head of the National Printing Office (NPO).
Speaking during the launch of the election database Web site of NAMFREL in Manila, de Villa slammed the appointment of retired general and former head of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) Tirso Danga as head of the agency that will print the ballots for the 2010 elections.
“We are very concerned over the new appointment of the president for the chief of the National Printing Office,” de Villa told reporters.
Danga was the head of ISAFP during the 2004 elections, when its agents allegedly intercepted and bugged telephone conversations between President Arroyo and former Commission on Elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. The wiretapped conversations, popularly called Garci tapes, hinted on rigging the results of the election in favor of Arroyo.
Danga denied the existence of the Garci tapes and said that ISAFP did not have wiretapping capabilities.
“He has been involved in some questionable issues that have not been resolved,” said de Villa, adding that his appointment may taint the credibility of the 2010 elections.
Danga was appointed to the position after former NPO chief Enrique Agana was relieved from the position after the latter was accused of raping a girl.
“It’s not good because we are now trying to eradicate distrust in the election process,” de Villa said.
Earlier, the NAMFREL also unveiled online database that features the election results of the 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007 elections. NAMFREL has been allowed by the Commission on Elections to receive the 6th copy of the election returns since 1998.
Before 1998, NAMFREL used the precinct form to obtain data, duly authorized by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI).
“The posting online of the first computerized consolidation/transmission of votes cast pr precinct opens to the public historical data on the way the Filipino voters chose our leaders as well as material for scientific analysis on how elections determine the quality of governance,” de Villa said.
The election results of the 1986, 1992 and 1995 elections will be posted during the second phase of the project.