Poll fraud case vs Arroyo needs to be strengthened—Querubin
MANILA, Philippines—A retired, decorated military officer who was implicated in a 2006 military uprising in reaction to the 2005 “Hello Garci” election cheating scandal urged prosecutors to seek more witnesses to strengthen the electoral sabotage case filed against former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Retired Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin said he hoped that Arroyo’s arrest would encourage those in the know to speak up about the manipulation of the 2004 presidential polls, which Arroyo narrowly won over the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.
“It’s a vindication. Haven’t we always said that there was cheating in 2004? That was what pushed us (to act). It was not so much the (cheating in the) 2007 elections but the 2004 (cheating) that was massive,” he said.
In February 2006, Querubin and several Marine and Army officers and enlisted personnel were detained for the rest of the Arroyo administration for an alleged coup plot, which Arroyo used as basis to place the country under emergency rule for two weeks.
Querubin, one of the handful living recipients of the Medal for Valor, the highest military award for heroism, resigned from the service in 2010 to run for senator.
He and others implicated in ouster plots against Arroyo were eventually cleared by a military tribunal and granted amnesty by President Aquino.
Querubin believed the election sabotage case against Arroyo for allegedly manipulating the results of the May 14, 2007, senatorial polls in Maguindanao to ensure a “12-0 victory for the administration ticket needed to be strengthened.”
He said the 2004 presidential election manipulation was worse than the 2007 senatorial election cheating.
“It’s not enough… Maybe there are many other witnesses who will surface. I think with her in jail, the others will also be emboldened to really come out and say what they know,” Querubin said.