Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mayuga report: Garci aide tried bribing poll exec to favor Arroyo

A military officer who acted as former Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano’s security aide during the 2004 polls tried to bribe a local election official to favor then administration candidate Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the so-called “Mayuga report" revealed.

Lawyer Helen Flores, then Commission on Elections regional director for Western Mindanao, said in the report that Captain Valentino Lopez —Garcillano’s security officer and distant relative — attempted to hand her a “huge amount" to “remedy" then presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.’s lead over Arroyo.

The supposed bribery attempt happened during the regional canvassing of votes at the Zamboanga Coliseum, she said.

“He [Lopez] was requesting her [Flores] to remedy the big lead of Fernando Poe Jr. in favor of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo," the report said.

Flores added that Garcillano’s aide also asked her to favor then administration mayoralty candidate Le Peng We.

Garcillano is a key figure in the “Hello Garci" poll-fraud scandal that broke out in 2005.

The scandal involved wiretapped conversations between Garcillano and many personalities, including a female voice believed to be that of Arroyo, on rigging the 2004 poll results.
Garcillano insisted last month that he never talked with Arroyo on any plan to manipulate results of the 2004 elections. []

Bribe "blankly ignored"

However, Flores said she “blankly ignored" the bribe, and immediately told Col. Joel Ibañez, an official of the Armed Forces’ Southern Command, about the incident.

“She was already alarmed that in case something might happen to her, somebody knows," the report said.

The local election official also said, “no anomaly ever happened" in her area during the 2004 elections.

President Benigno Aquino III last week ordered the classified Mayuga report released.
It details the military investigation on claims that some of its ranking officers took part in rigging the 2004 elections.

The report was prepared by former Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga, who headed the panel that looked into the allegations of the military’s involvement in electoral fraud.

Garci’s "advanced party"

The Mayuga panel interviewed Lopez in the course of its investigation, but there was no mention of the alleged attempt to bribe Flores in the in the final report’s summary of his statements.

The report merely said Lopez served as Garcillano’s “advance party" to where the canvassing was taking place.

“[He] met Atty. Helen Flores only once in a gym where the canvassing of votes is taking place during the election," the report read.

The document also cited that Garcillano personally requested for Lopez to serve as his security officer three months before the elections, an arrangement that was without proper consent from the military.

“His assignment with Commissioner Garcillano was sort of internal arrangements and not covered with proper orders from the Armed Forces of the Philippines... His duty as a security officer is to maintain the commissioner’s safety at all times and to see to it that his life will not be in danger," according to the Mayuga report. — VS, GMA News

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