MANILA - Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares urged former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to reveal what he knows about the alleged fraud that attended the conduct of the 2004 presidential elections.
Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo beat the late popular actor Fernando Poe Jr. by about a million votes.
The actor lodged an election protest against Arroyo, but with his death late that year, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal was forced to dismiss the case.
Months after Congress declared Arroyo as winner, a tape recording of an alleged conversation between her and Garcillano surfaced.
In the recording, a female caller, who sounded like Arroyo, talks to a man she calls “Garci” about election fraud.
In one part of the supposed conversation, the caller asks if she could win by a million votes.
The Office of the Ombudsman has decided to file perjury and falsification charges against Garcillano for allegedly lying before a House of Representatives inquiry and for presenting a forged passport.
“We call on Garcillano to tell all now that he risks years of imprisonment and expose those who manipulated the election results. We are also calling for the reopening of the election fraud case to finally know the truth on the matter,” Colmenares said.
“Garcillano has long evaded justice and the questions of who were involved in that fraudulent election that led to the victory of former President Gloria Arroyo over Fernando Poe Jr.,” he said.
He described the Ombudsman’s decision to charge the former election official as “long overdue.”
Colmenares and former Bayan Muna colleague Teddy Casiño are the complainants in the case.
“Even if the Ombudsman has now just resolved an important case, we are glad that it finally resolved our complaint against Garcillano on the issue of electoral fraud in the 2004 elections. Since it was difficult to pin him down on electoral fraud due to the cover-up in the previous administration, we tried to prosecute him, Al Capone style, through perjury and falsification of his passport,” Colmenares said.
“Impunity cannot reign forever and although the pendulum of justice may swing the other way at times, it will surely and inevitably swing back to the side of the victims of injustice,” he said.
The charges against Garcillano stemmed from the hearings conducted in 2005 by the House committees on public information, public order and security, defense, suffrage and electoral reforms, and information communications technology.
The former commissioner evaded the inquiry for about six months, forcing the House to issue a warrant for his arrest.