MANILA, Philippines - Many military officers who witnessed alleged electoral fraud in the 2004 presidential election are adopting a "wait and see" attitude on plans by the Aquino administration to investigate the cheating.
Former Scout Ranger chief Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim said many military officers could serve as potential witnesses in the Department of Justice-Commission on Elections investigation on electoral fraud.
"Marami dyan wait and see. Kung talagang nakikita nila siguro na talagang may mangyayari dyan baka may mga magsalita," he said.
Lim said many military officers did not testify in the 2005 fact-finding investigation headed by then Vice Admiral Mateo M. Mayuga on the "Hello, Garci" tapes for fear of reprisal.
The investigation was supposed to focus on alleged military involvement in the 2004 poll fraud, but it ended up absolving all of the so-called Garci Generals.
"Nung ginawa yung Mayuga report, nakaupo pa lang si GMA so wala namang mangyayari talaga dun. Takot lahat ganun. Sabi ko nga sa ano statement ko na statements taken during that time were taken under duress. Ang atmosphere nun e nakakatakot. Pag nagsalita ka, pag-iinitan ka dahil nakaupo pa sila e," he said.
President Benigno Aquino has instructed the Department of National Defense to review the evidence presented in the so-called Mayuga report and submit its findings to the DOJ-Comelec probe.
Lim said he would personally look for witnesses in the government investigation, "but they have to be convinced that it's worth it."
He said that any fact-finding body that will investigate the military's involvement in poll fraud should not have a military officer as a member to ensure that there is no whitewash.
He reiterated that the decision of some Armed Forces officials to rig the 2004 election was an "original sin" that tainted the military institution since it thwarted the will of the people.