Garcillano surfaces to deny cheating in 2004 polls
MANILA, Philippines – Former Commission on Elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano has come out to deny that he was involved in cheating in the 2004 presidential elections.
In a press conference aired live on radio and television Saturday, Garcillano said, “Wala akong ginawang cheating [I did not do any cheating].”
Garcillano surfaced a few days after Senior Superintendent Rafael Santiago went public to admit that he and his team broke into the Batasan Pambansa Complex in Quezon City in 2005 to exchange the original election returns with fakes following a protest filed by the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., Arroyo’s closest rival in the presidential race.
But Poe died in December 2004 following a stroke and even before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal could convene to tackle his protest. With Poe’s death, the PET promptly dismissed the case.
Speaking in his home in Bukidnon province, Garcillano said repeatedly that he did not cheat and that he had nothing more to say on the matter.
“Wala na akong sasabihin. Yun ang totoo [I have nothing to say. That is the truth],” said the former poll official.
When asked about Santiago’s expose, Garcillano said in Filipino, [I don’t know who cheated. I cannot tell you the fraud that they committed because I do not know. I cannot speak for them.”
He also said that he would not appear before the Comelec and the Department of Justice (DoJ), which is jointly investigating the poll fraud.
At the same time, Garcillano offered to be a consultant for electoral reforms at the Comelec.
“I can contribute. We should educate people,” he said.
Garcillano disappeared from public view following the disclosure of an alleged taped phone conversation between him and then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was said to have asked the poll official to ensure that she would win by one million votes against Poe.
Under intense pressure for her to resign, Arroyo admitted talking to an official and apologized for her “lapse in judgement.”
For the interview, listen to 990AM.
Originally posted at 1:55 p.m.