Osmeña decries ‘widespread’ cheating
There was “widespread” cheating during the last elections perpetrated by the “Garci boys” at the Commission on Elections (Comelec), outgoing Senator Serge Osmeña III said on Thursday.
The “Garci” alluded to was former election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, who allegedly conspired with then President and now detained Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to rig the 2004 polls.
“Why don’t you check the results? I was always in the survey then of all a sudden some senators were able to add two to four million votes to their totals,” Osmeña told reporters when asked why he did not make it to the Magic 12 in the senatorial race.
“May mga (There are) Garci boys,” he added.
Asked how the supposed cheating was done, the senator said: “I can just see the results. If I’m leading you by two million votes and then after election day, you’re leading me by two million votes, that’s four million votes. Nakuha mo in three days, four days? Imposible ‘yun (You gathered those votes in three days, four days? That’s impossible). Matagal na ako sa business (I’ve been in the business for a long time), I’ve been in politics for a long time. I know that’s impossible.”
Osmeña said the cheating was not limited to the senatorial races only.
“No there was a widespread cheating all over the country, iba iba ‘yung style nila,” he said.
“It’s widespread, practically in every province, local cheating, vote buying. I’m not even talking about vote-buying; vote-buying has become very normal. It’s very disappointing na na-spoiled na ‘yung mga botante, talagang inaantay nila ‘yan (It’s very disappointing that the voters have become spoiled already, that they are just waiting for the vote-buying to commence).”
Osmeña said the “Garci boys” in the Comelec, who have not been removed from their posts, were the culprits behind the cheating.
“Yung mga Garci Boys, andyan pa ‘yung mga Garci boys, hindi tinanggal (The Garci boys are still there; they were not removed)…Yes they are inside Comelec,” he said.
“Nag-offer pa nga sila e nagpapadala ng message sa akin: ‘Boss mag protection ka na.’ Sabi ko ayoko (They sent me an offer: ‘Boss, protect your votes.’ I declined).”
Asked how much the offer was, Osmeña said: “In the beginning, early on mga P10 a vote, pumili ka na (you choose). Let’s say, I want one million votes at P10, e di (for a total of) P10 million. ‘Yung mga iba maraming pera (others had a lot of money) ‘so give me five million votes at P10 (each),’ that’s P50 million,” the senator added.
He said the offer was made through common friends.
Despite his claim, Osmeña said he would no longer file an election protest, saying the process would be difficult since the cheating took place not only in one place but all over the country.
The senator’s term will end on June 30, 2016. IDL/rga
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