Mayor offers poll fraud testimony
BACOLOD CITY—A controversial mayor of a Negros Occidental town offered himself as a witness to what he said was election fraud in 2004 in favor of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the province’s fifth district allegedly perpetrated by the former president’s brother-in-law, Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr.
In a press statement, Mayor Magdaleno Peña of Pulupandan said he was willing to cooperate in efforts to reveal the truth behind election fraud in the province’s fifth district.
Peña said he has personal knowledge of how Iggy Arroyo put together and executed the plot to make his sister-in-law win the 2004 presidential elections in the district.
Peña said he was coming out in the open in response to plans by the Senate to investigate fraud that was widely believed to have brought Mrs. Arroyo to power in 2004 with the help of operators like Iggy Arroyo.
Peña said he and second cousin Enrique “Quito” Montilla, among others, had personal knowledge of the massive vote buying for Mrs. Arroyo orchestrated by Iggy Arroyo in the fifth district in 2004.
According to Peña, he had asked Arroyo three days before the 2004 elections how many of the 210,000 voters in the fifth district he would finance and how much he would give to each voter. He added that Iggy had told him of his plans.
He also said in his press release that he would disclose details on the massive vote-buying in the fifth district.
Questions on where the money came from and how it was carried to Negros would be answered at the Senate during the investigation, the mayor said in his press release.
Peña said his decision to disclose what he knew was in response to Iggy’s previous challenge for him to a fight.
‘Pick on me’
In a press statement on April 12, 2011, Iggy said Peña seemed fond of picking fights with women. “Why not pick on someone your own size or, better yet, why not pick on me instead?,” Arroyo added in that statement.
Peña said Arroyo was on medical leave in London, allegedly for treatment of his liver ailment and hip-bone replacement surgery.
However, he said he was sure that upon Iggy’s return, he would be in fighting form.
Peña said he was accepting Arroyo’s challenge to a fight, “perhaps a boxing match in front of the provincial capitol” with Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez as referees and provincial board members as judges.
But, in a phone interview Friday, Iggy said he was not going to dignify anything Peña uttered.
“It comes from somebody who has nothing better to do with his life. What is important is the people of the fifth district whom I proudly represent know that I am their duly elected representative and they voted for me. Therefore, I enjoy their trust and confidence,” Iggy said.
“This is the first and the last time I am going to answer a has-been,” Iggy said.
Peña became controversial after a much publicized child custody battle with actress Plinky Recto, his former partner.
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