Poe recalls Hello Garci scandal: 'Pagala-gala pa rin si Garci'
20 years later

Poe recalls Hello Garci scandal: ‘Pagala-gala pa rin si Garci’

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 05:12 PM May 08, 2024

After 20 years, memories of the “Hello Garci” scandal remain fresh for Senator Grace Poe, whose father, Fernando Poe  Jr.  or FPJ, lost in the fraud-tainted 2004 presidential elections. 

Sen. Grace Poe. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The daughter never forgets.

After 20 years, memories of the “Hello Garci” scandal remain fresh for Senator Grace Poe, whose father, Fernando Poe  Jr.  or FPJ, lost in the fraud-tainted 2004 presidential elections.


“Hello Garci” refers to the alleged phone conversation between then Commission on Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and then President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.


“A good two decades have passed since the “Hello Garci” was pulled off, and I am recalling it today, not as a daughter of the decent man who was robbed of votes, but as a senator of the Republic who believes it is her duty not to let this blot in our history fade from the nation’s memory,” Poe said in a privilege speech on Wednesday.

“In doing so, I am just taking the cue from my father who died heartbroken for the people who were let down by the system,” she said.

“But while the father may have forgiven those who did the people wrong, the daughter will never forget their names nor the crimes that were committed,” Poe continued.

Until now, no one was punished for this crime, the senator lamented.

“The guilty remains in power, taking refuge in our collective amnesia to delete our memory on the wrongs they have committed,”  she said.

“Pagala-gala pa rin si Garci parang wala lang nangyari,” Poe said, referring to former poll commissioner.


(Garci is still wandering around as if nothing happened.)

More than the need to move on, however, the senator stressed the need to move forward.

In fact, she  he admitted  to having second thoughts reviving this controversy  as she  might be accused of “sour-graping” until now.

“Hindi po, wala po akong poot na nararamdaman. Kaya lang lungkot lang na sana kasi mag e-election na naman next year, sana naman medyo maging maayos kasi rampant na naman yung  vote buying,” Poe said.

(No, there  is  no hatred. It’s just that another election is coming next year. I hope things will be somewhat better because vote-buying is rampant again.)

“And if you want  good people to run this country, we really have to  make an  effort to guard our votes and to make sure that there’s a level paying field,” she said.

Poe said the lessons from the “Hello Garci” should have “birthed laws” to prevent it from happening again. This, however, “did not fully happen,” she said.

“Yes, there were laws passed, like poll computerization, and minor fixes, but the biggest scourge, the buying of votes has not been purged out of our politics,” said the senator.

Aside from technological reforms, Poe said, “a lot more needs to be done in our electoral landscape.”

These  include redefining what electoral crimes words like “premature campaigning,” “vote-buying,” and “vote-selling” cover, she also said.

For her, campaigning should effectively start as soon as candidacy is filed. She said vote-buying, on the other hand, should include all possible modes like the buying of votes through e-wallets.

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“So much must be done in so little time, she said. “We are fast approaching the midterm national elections next year and yet the landscape has not changed much since the electoral crisis two decades ago.”

NOTE: The English translations in this article were generated with the aid of AI.
TAGS: FPJ, Grace Poe, Hello Garci

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