WHAT WENT BEFORE: Mayuga Report
In July 2005, Vice Adm. Mateo Mayuga, then inspector general of the Armed Forces, headed a military inquiry into the involvement of at least four generals tagged in the “Hello Garci” election fraud scandal.
The scandal involved tapped conversations purportedly between then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano on the rigging of the 2004 presidential polls.
The wiretaps mentioned a number of ranking military men, including the then Army chief, Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, and triggered the filing of impeachment cases against Arroyo. These cases were eventually defeated by administration allies in the House of Representatives.
Months after the “Hello Garci” scandal broke out in 2005, Mayuga convened a five-member panel composed of senior military officers. The panel interviewed 73 witnesses and wrapped up its inquiry in October 2005.
It submitted its report to the military leadership in January 2006.
Lawmakers demanded a copy of the report. But the Armed Forces and the defense department said they were waiting for Malacañang’s go-signal.
On April 12, 2006, Mayuga disclosed a two-page summary of his report, which cleared Esperon, former Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Gabriel Habacon, retired Lt. Gen. Roy Kyamko, and retired Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani.
Mayuga also said the board did not find any irregularities committed by about 300 officers and soldiers who were deputized as members of the board of election inspectors.
While Mayuga said that some lower-rank officers could be further investigated for possible involvement in election irregularities, he did not say if these irregularities were related to Arroyo’s candidacy.
“Ours is not to pass judgment on culpability,” he said.
Mayuga also said he had suggested a review of the practice of deputizing the 120,000-strong military for election duty.
Then Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Arroyo had read the report and approved its recommendations.
But the military said it could not release the full report as it contained classified information with national security implications.
In 2007, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano, whom Arroyo had named to succeed Esperon as Armed Forces chief of staff, said the report would remain “internal.” He said its release would hardly lead to the resolution of the “illegitimacy” issue raised against Arroyo.
During the Navy’s 110th anniversary in May 2008, Mayuga, who by then had retired, was asked about his report. He said he could no longer recall its contents and refused further comment, saying he was now a private citizen.
In July 2010, President Aquino said he had received an abridged version of the report and was considering its full disclosure.
He also said a truth commission that he was planning to form would “have access” to the report.
But the commission was never able to do its intended work, with the Supreme Court declaring it unconstitutional. Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research
Source: Inquirer Archives
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