MANILA, Philippines - Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano does not plan to testify on the alleged irregularities in Mindanao during the 2004 presidential election, his lawyer said Monday.
In a text message to his lawyer, Ed Tamondong, Garcillano also denied sending "feelers" to Malacañang regarding the issue.
"Not now, we will wait. The people who claimed I sent a feeler or feelers keep sending people to talk to me yet tell otherwise," the former Comelec official said in his text message.
Tamondong believes that some people approached Garcillano to ask him to talk about the alleged poll irregularities.
He said Garcillano is not hiding and does not simply want to talk about the issue as he may be charged with perjury.
"Hinala niya pinagugulo lang, at ginogoyo lang siya na lalabas maybe with some threat na pag ayaw mo, baka kakasuhan ka din namin," the lawyer said.
A Palace official, meanwhile, insisted that Garcillano sent feelers to Malacañang.
"He can always say that even if he did. Feelers are feelers, it's not a signed affidavit....it can easily be disclaimed exactly because they are just feelers," said Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronaldo Llamas.
Two key witnesses in the alleged election fraud--suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampataun and former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol--have accused former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of having a direct hand in poll irregularities in the ARMM.
Pacasirang Batidor and Hadji Abdulah Dalidig have also claimed that former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera and MIAA general manager Alfonso Cusi were involved in poll cheating.
Arroyo and the others accused said they will answer the allegations if a case is filed before the Ombudsman. - Reports from Alex Santos and Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News