Cayetano, Brillantes clash over ‘Garci’ tag
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Majority Leader Alan Cayetano and Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes engaged in a heated argument on Tuesday over a “Garci” tag.
“Garci” is former elections chairman Virgilio Garcillano, who was accused of conspiring with former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cheat in the 2004 elections.
Face to face, Cayetano told Brillantes during the hearing of the Senate committee on electoral reforms that the poll chief was “worse than Garci.”
The heated debate started when Brillantes lamented at the start of the committee’s hearing on Senator Grace Poe’s speech on “Garci” scandal the alleged “Garci in disguise” tag that a senator allegedly labelled to the head of the Commission on Elections while interpellating Poe in the plenary.
“Hindi ko naman kaibigan si Garci noong 2004. Hindi ko alam kung sino ang kakampi nya. Pero alam ko kakampi ni Garci si GMA (Arroyo’s initials), si First Gentleman, yung mga pamilya ng mga taga Taguig na tumakbong senador sa Lakas,” Brillantes said.
If Garci should be investigated, then he said, those who had benefited from the alleged massive cheating in 2004 should also be investigated.
Brillantes did not identify the senator he was referring to but Cayetano, who was also present at the hearing, acknowledged that it was him.
“…I apologize kung tinamaan ka sa sinasabi mong Garci in 2016 kasi to tell you frankly and in your face, you’re worse than Garci,” Cayetano said.
“Ang sinabi ko, if chairman Brillantes does not retire by next year because I know na 2015 ang iyong retirement, binibilang ko po ang araw na mag-retire kayo— he modifies the system, there would be no change in the 2016 elections,” the senator added.
But even before Cayetano made the statements, Brillantes already told the committee that he would not resign as he would just wait to retire on February 2, 2015.
“Pwede ho akong mag-resign na nang mas maaga, pero hindi na ho, nagsawa na ho ako kare-resign ano. Hindi ako magre-resign. Masasayang benefits ko, yung konting pension,” he said.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, the committee chair, had to suspend the hearing at one point when tension ran high between the two.
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