Serge Osmeña: I wuz robbed, but …
Sen. Sergio Osmeña III on Thursday said he was cheated in his reelection bid, blaming the “boys“ of former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano of “Hello Garci” notoriety for his loss.
There was “widespread cheating” in the elections and this happened at the local level through vote buying, vote shaving and other ways, Osmeña said.
Earlier, Osmeña said he had accepted his loss. He had ranked between 6th and 9th in preelection surveys, but ended up 14th in the final tally, two spots away from the winning 12 senators.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday after the last Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the $81-million cyberheist of Bangladeshi funds, Osmeña admitted being surprised by the election outcome.
“I was always in the surveys and then all of a sudden some senators were able to add two to four million votes to their totals,” he said.
Osmeña said he knew some candidates had paid for their votes.
He said he did not think Mr. Aquino was aware of the cheating, but that it was an “individual effort.”
Asked who was behind the cheating, Osmeña replied: “The Garci boys are still there. Yes, they’re still inside the Comelec.”
Garci or Garcillano is the former Comelec commissioner who sounded like the other party in a wiretapped phone conversation with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo discussing her vote margin during the 2004 election.
Osmeña admitted he was approached by the Garci group through mutual friends and offered P10-P20 per vote but he did not bite.
“Vote buying had become very normal,” he said.
Other forms of election cheating included vote shaving, but this was minimal, hacking of flash cards and preshading of ballots, Osmeña said.
He said he did not plan to contest his loss as pinpointing exactly where the cheating happened would be difficult since it was widespread.
He said he intended to relax and do some fishing.
Asked if he would make another run for the Senate in three years, he replied: “Probably not. I might be happy with my wife.”
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