Wednesday, June 15, 2005

NR0616:Garci, GMA's weakest link

News Release
June 16, 2005
From the Office of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran

Anti-fraud, anti-corruption groups to picket Comelec tomorrow; Solon demands Garcillano not b be allowed to go into hiding or leave the country

Anakpawis solons Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano will join other progressive lawmakers and leaders of anti-corruption, anti-fraud groups in tomorrow’s big protest rally in front of the Commission on Election to denounce what they termed as one of the biggest cases of electoral fraud since the Marcos dictatorship. Anakpawis has expressed condemnation anew for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s decision to remain mum on whether commissioner Virgilio Garcillano will be reappointed as to the COMELEC. Protestors from Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party and the anti-corruption group Patriots as well as members of organizations under the umbrella of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) will rally in front of the Comelec beginning 1PM.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said on Wednesday there was "no indication from the President if commissioner Garcillano will be reappointed or not." Garcillano is alleged to be the election officer whom the President was talking to in the "wiretapped conversation" now circulating in country. The conversation was said to be about plans to manipulate results of the May 2004 election. Garcillano, together with commissioner Manuel Barcelona, were bypassed anew when the Commission on Appointments failed to act on their confirmation before Congress adjourned on June 9. It is the president who has the prerogative to reappoint them to the elections body. There are reports that the two no longer attended the Commission’s en banc meeting early this week as they have not received their reappointment.

“Is there now a gag order against Garcillano? Speculations are already rife that Malacanang is keeping Garcillano from issuing statements, but it’s dilemma to keep Garcillano employed in the Comelec is largely due to uncertainty: will Garcillano speak, and what will he say when asked about the taped conversation between him and the president?”

”Without doubt, anything that comes out of Garcillano’s mouth will be directly linked to the President. After all, they are the ones who had those shocking conversations on vote manipulation in the My 2004 polls,” he said. “Garcillano is the President’s weakest link when it comes to this poll fraud scandal, the same way the President’s husband and eldest son are her weakest link when it comes to issues of massive corruption.”

The veteran labor leader said that Garcillano should not confirmed at the Comelec, “But neither should he be allowed to go into hiding or to leave the country. The investigations into this tape scandal have yet to fully unfold, and Garcillano is a key player. Garcillano has single-handedly put the credibility of the COMELEC and even the entire election process in serious doubt. His conversations with the President on poll manipulation has jolted the entire nation awake and has sparked even more calls for the president’s resignation. By no means should Garcillano be allowed to leave the country,” he concluded.#


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