President Aquino: Follow leads in Mayuga report
Tagbilaran, Bohol—President Benigno Aquino III wants to find out where the unexplored leads provided by the so-called Mayuga Report could have led.
The President expressed this wish on Tuesday after saying the government did not need former Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano in its inquiry into the alleged fraud in the 2004 presidential election.
Congress proclaimed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the winner in that election that continues to be questioned a year after the contested term expired.
The Mayuga Report was made by a fact-finding panel headed by former Navy chief Mateo Mayuga. The panel was assigned to look into the alleged involvement of military officers in election fraud in 2004, but its report was not made public.
Asked about the government’s review of the Mayuga Report, Mr. Aquino said the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) had found that leads to additional information were not pursued.
“Part of the findings of the PMS is that there were those who gave leads. The line of questioning in the leads was changed. These leads weren’t pursued and followed through. My instructions were to exploit those leads,” Mr. Aquino told reporters.
“That was sometime last year. I have to follow that up,” he said.
Not a priority
The President admitted that the results of the government review of the Mayuga Report had not been at the top of his agenda.
He said it had been some time since he went over the briefer on the panel findings.
“The briefer is like two or three pages. But all the ongoing investigations actually impinge on that. I’ll have to check with the [Department of Justice], among others, its status on the recommendation. I don’t recall it right now,” he said.
Mr. Aquino was in Bohol on Tuesday for a briefing on the proposed international airport on Panglao island, a meeting with the Central Visayas’ regional peace and order council and the inauguration of the new municipal hall of Trinidad town.
Asked to comment on Garcillano’s denial that he had sent feelers to Malacañang indicating an intention to tell all that he knew about the 2004 presidential election, Mr. Aquino said: “Our investigation doesn’t depend on them.”
He said the investigation on alleged fraud and other irregularities under the previous administration continues to be pursued by government.
“If our countrymen are getting impatient [waiting for charges to be filed], it’s because we don’t just file charges. There should be strong proof,” he said.
Mr. Aquino said there were “four tracks” of investigation on which the government was focused.
“I will be greatly disappointed if we will not be able to file charges by the end of this year at least on the first track, of which Garcillano is not part,” he said.
Asked later what these cases were, Presidential Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said the topics of investigation were so sensitive that they could not be discussed in public.
“Suffice it to say that they involve responsible officials of the past administration,” Carandang said in a telephone interview.