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Gov’t will probe GMA over ER switching

By ARIES RUFO

MANILA, Philippines—Two government agencies will look into the possible involvement of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the alleged switching of the election returns of the controversial 2004 presidential race.

If evidence shows that she was privy to this clandestine operation, Mrs. Arroyo, now a congresswoman representing Pampanga, may face criminal charges and imprisonment, according to Commission on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes Jr.

Eh di kulong sya (She’ll be jailed)” Brillantes snapped when asked what could happen if proven that she had a hand in the Batasan break-ins, which was first related in 2005 to Newsbreak by election operators and confirmed by Police Senior Supt. Rafael Santiago in an Inquirer report today, July 28, 2011.

The Newsbreak report identified former poll official, now election lawyer, Roque

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Bello as the main operator in the alleged manufacturing of fake ERs, which replaced the genuine ones at the Batasan.

Bello, who was at the Comelec office today to attend an election hearing, denied to reporters that he took part in it.

The break-ins happened in January and February 2005, according to Newsbreak, when the Presidential Electoral Tribunal was reviewing the election protest lodged by then defeated presidential bet Fernando Poe Jr.

Brillantes served as Poe’s lawyer in that election. Poe died in December 2004.

The Comelec and the Department of Justice have formed a joint committee that will look into fresh revelations of alleged cheating in that race.

Brillantes said that the newly formed committee will conduct a preliminary investigation “to determine probable cause before filing in court against those who may be found guilty of electoral offenses or sabotage.”

Free to air

Brillantes told reporters that he was not surprised by Santiago’s revelations. “The administration then was different, so the witnesses were afraid to come out,” he said.

Brillantes stressed that the joint probe will not determine who really won the elections but identify those who perpetrated the cheating.

He acknowledged that the filing of electoral offenses against the perpetrators could present some problems, due to the 5-year prescriptive period in the filing of such cases. Any 2004 election-related case should have been filed not later than 2009.

However, in the case of Arroyo, Brillantes opined that she might not be off the hook.

“I do not have any jurisprudence to support but in my one legal opinion, if she was involved, she can be prosecuted. My position is that the prescription (for Arroyo) will commence only from the time she vacated office on June 30, 2010. Prior to that, she could not have been e prosecuted anyway as she was immune from any

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suit,” Brillantes said.

Common crimes

Still, there are other crimes that can be lodged against those who perpetrated the substitution at the Batasan.

“There were other common crimes that were committed. There’s robbery, bribery, trespassing, infidelity of custody of documents. These are common crimes which may not be prescribed yet,” he said.

Bello will also be included in the probe, according to Brillantes. The Comelec chief admitted that he’s a relative.

Brillantes indicated that he would inhibit from participating in the poll body’s appreciation of the joint’s committee’s findings, since he was a former counsel for Poe.

He predicted a swift conclusion of the investigation, given the willingness of witnesses and the existence of documents.

Santiago has submitted to the DOJ copies of what he claims were the genuine ERs that his men stole from the Batasan Pambansa building in 2005.

“It is easy to prove there was substitution of fake ERs because there are several duplicate copies,” he explained.—Newsbreak

 

CATEGORY: Elections, Politics
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  1. GMA will beat the system, but not the justice system of the Almighty. Her medical condition is poetic justice already. Like Michael Corleone’s suffering which led his confessor, Archbishop Lamberto to lament: “Your sins are terrible. It is but just that you suffer.”

  2. I am fervently praying for Arroyo’s speedy recovery and continous good health. She should face justice in our world and not in the thereafter. I am hoping that she will live a hundred years…

  3. Blood is thicker than water, Brillantes at Bello ay magkamag-anak pala. Kahit mag-inhibit pa si Brillante’s may-influence pa siya…anong ginagawa behind doors?????
    Dapat di naging Chairman si Brillantes, sa una palang may-bahid na ng duma o hakhak na involve siya sa gawang baluktot sa election. Sa bansang tulad ng USA, Canada, EU hindi lulusot siya as chairman o kahit membro ng election commission. Dapat wala sa pulitika.
    Kawawang bayan…parang wang-wang ang pag lagay.

  4. Tama ka diayan wabi sabi: Pag ikaw ay isang successful election lawyer sa Pilipinas,lahat na bulok na pamamaraan ng sistema ay alam mo at ginampanan mo “otherwise” walang kukuha sa iyo bilang abogado ng mga nagpoprotesta or ipinoprotesta sa election kung hindi ka sanay sa “back-door” operations. Brillante had been a successful election lawyer and his clients are bigtime politicians. He knew how the system work. “Back-door” transactions!.

  5. I mean, he knew how the system works.

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