Judge ties Mike Arroyo to cheating
This time, Nagamura Moner said he wants to set things right.
Going public for the third time in six years, the former Shariah circuit court judge on Tuesday testified on his role in alleged efforts to manipulate the results of the 2004 elections to favor then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Moner submitted to the Senate blue ribbon committee an affidavit implicating Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo in the alleged “massive cheating in the 2004 presidential election, specifically in the areas of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu.”
“In the statements I made in 2005, there were inexact details and additions which I wish to correct now that I can talk freely,” he said in his eight-page affidavit.
“What is substantially true is that I was involved in the cheating upon the direction of and with the blessings of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and GMA through my handler, Alfonso G. Cusi (then the general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority).”
Moner said he received P3 million “for me and my associates so they will not be restive and so they will not expose their participation or involvement in the cheating.”
Upon Cusi’s instruction, Moner said he met with President Arroyo on June 16, 2005, over a year after the election, to tell her that “she has no problem with me as far as the election was concerned.”
“I met GMA inside a room at the Pryce Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City with (Norberto) Gonzales (the national security adviser) and I told her she has no problem with me, to which she said thank you.”
Cusi’s former executive assistant, Teresa Mendoza, said on the telephone that Cusi was aware of the allegations but “does not have a statement at this time.”
Inocencio Ferrer Jr., Mike Arroyo’s lawyer, dismissed Moner’s testimony as “completely untrue and baseless.” He said Moner was among the “incredible, unreliable and flip-flopping witnesses appearing on cue against Arroyo.”
“He was a judge of a court and a public official in 2004, and now he admits under oath and on national television that he personally committed the crimes of electioneering and bribery of other government officials. We hope that the office of the Ombudsman will prosecute this witness,” Ferrer said.
Accompanied by Carmelite nuns, Moner was called to testify at the hearing, which was to wrap up an inquiry into secondhand helicopters, which were purportedly owned by the Arroyos and sold as brand-new to the Philippine National Police in 2009.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III said the Senate sergeant at arms had begun providing security to Moner after he claimed he had been receiving death threats, prompting him to go to the Carmelites to seek sanctuary.
Moner told the committee that Cusi provided him a helicopter on a trip from Zamboanga City to Tawi-Tawi and Sulu on May 14, 2004, and was told by the pilot that the aircraft was owned by Mike Arroyo.
He said that during the trip he received a call from Cusi, who then passed the phone to Mike Arroyo. “Do everything for the President. After the election, we will take care of you and your family,” he quoted Mike Arroyo as telling him.
Mike Arroyo denies ever talking to Moner, Ferrer said.
In his testimony Tuesday, Moner, who first appeared before the Senate in 2005, said that Cusi contacted him either in March or April of 2004 for the poll operation through his brother-in-law, Efren Bollozos.
In all, Moner said his operation cost around P8 million. “I got P1 million for myself because I considered it as salary for flying during a typhoon,” he told the senators.
On May 13, 2004, Moner said he received another P1 million and an additional P3 million two days later.
He said the second amount was delivered to his hotel room in Zamboanga City by a member of the Presidential Security Group, whom he knew only as “Dave.”
“After Dave left, I received a call from Cusi and he gave me the combination to open the briefcase,” he recalled. “I opened the briefcase and I found P3 million inside.”
On June 5, 2004, Moner said he flew to Makati City to return P1.78 million in cash to Cusi at the old Oakwood Hotel. With Cusi was his brother-in-law. He said he was also told that Mike Arroyo was “in another room of the hotel.”
Moner said Cusi gave him back P280,000 to be used for a supposed media blitz to insist that “there was no cheating in the elections.” He said the amount was to be spent on the press conference and news releases of 16 poll officers, including himself.
The following day, Moner said the 16 poll officers were briefed by then Interior Undersecretary Agnes Devanadera on “how to cover up the cheating during press conferences and in press releases at the Lakas headquarters in Makati City.” With reports from Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. and Nancy Carvajal
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