More witnesses come out in the open to accuse former president and now Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of massive cheating in the 2004 and 2007 polls.
Former Shariah judge Nagamura Moner confessed that he received P8 million to orchestrate the cheating in the 2004 elections, P1 million of which was used to pay off election officers who helped Arroyo win, and P3 million pesos to silence his companions from exposing poll fraud, he said.
Another former Shariah judge Casan-Ali Limbona, Maulawi Calimba and Amer Hassan Doro corroborated witnesses' statements, confirming that they served as accomplices of Moner in the alleged electoral fraud in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Moner said he paid Limbona P50,000 to contact and pay former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol P5 per Arroyo's lead vote against the late Fernando Poe Jr.
Limbona backed Moner’s statement, adding that he only monitored the canvassing to look at the final numbers for Bedol’s payment.
Calimba claims that he helped distribute money to the election officers but he only participated in the cheating because he was interested in the election process.
Doro, Moner's student, told senators he received money from Moner’s son which was in turn given to a police officer.
Ansari Alonto, a consultant of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, who also testified in the hearing, said opposition watchers could not go near the venue of the canvassing and that the votes were not counted but “discussed.”
Attorney Ray Sumalipao, Lanao del Sur's acting provincial election supervisor in the 2004 polls, denied Alonto’s allegations saying that canvassing took place and the proceedings were all recorded.
Sumalipao, now promoted to Comelec ARMM regional director, was implicated in the “Hello, Garci” wiretapped conversations between Arroyo and former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.
“In so far as I’m concerned, I did not cheat your honor,” Sumalipao said.
Although he denied his involvement, the Comelec director cannot confirm that there was no poll fraud and that he cannot answer for and in behalf of others.
“I’m inclined to believe that there were irregularities in the 2004 elections with all these witnesses,” he said.
Sumalipao admitted that he did not do anything when the results of the certificates of canvass showed zero votes for FPJ.
“Kung wala pong dayaan, malayong-malayo ang panalo ni FPJ. FPJ would have won by one million votes,” Moner said.
The former Shariah judge denied that there was cheating in the 2004 elections during the 2005 probe but recently reversed his statements in a Senate hearing in September.
“I would rather go to jail by not telling the truth than risk the safety of my family,” Moner said.
He earlier implicated Alfonso Cusi, former director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, who was allegedly an Arroyo ally in the massive election fraud.
Cusi categorically denied that he was Moner’s handler saying that Moner’s statements are “baseless” and “unfounded.”
Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the blue ribbon committee, and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, chair of the committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, headed the Senate investigation.
Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Alan Peter Cayetano later joined the joint committee hearing.
Guingona said that in the next hearing, Cayetano will show the correlation of the “Garci” tapes and the areas that were mentioned in the wiretapped conversation.
Comelec will also reveal in the succeeding investigation the discrepancies in the results of the election returns, he added.
Pimentel has charged Arroyo and her husband and other officials with election fraud before the Department of Justice on Monday.
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