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‘Hello, Garci is true, and we all know it’ – AFP general

By NEWSBREAK

Military officers campaigned for an anti-communist party-list group, counted votes inside camps, and cheated for candidates, probers told

MANILA, Philippines—Military officers allowed themselves to be used in the 2004 presidential elections by cheating for certain candidates and political parties, transcripts of a declassified military probe showed.

No less than the commander of the military task force deputized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in 2004 had told a military investigating panel that he believed that what was recorded in the “Hello, Garci” election wiretapping scandal indeed happened.

Retired Admiral Mateo Mayuga

“I think that is true, and you better accept it at this point,” then Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Garcia had told the Mayuga panel. Garcia was commander of Task Force HOPE (Honest, Orderly, Peaceful Elections) in 2004, but by the time he faced the investigating panel in July 2005 he had already retired from the military and was serving as President Arroyo’s adviser on the peace process.

“We all know it,” he told military probers. “Whether you deny it to yourself or not, we have to accept it that our officers have been involved in this. I think if you look deep down inside yourself and ask yourself [an] honest opinion, whether you believe our officers [are] capable of cheating… or does it happen….the answer is yes. There are people among us who allowed themselves to be used. I think everybody knows that. It was a fact…these are the things we hear. Let us not joke ourselves or try to delude ourselves in the idea na walang nangyayari because in fact things are happening.”

Garcia lamented that officers had become obsessed with their careers that they tended to “do everything…to make sure that you reach what you have set for yourself by hook or by crook.” A 1970 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, which was once a power class under the Arroyo government, Garcia acknowledged the state of affairs in the Armed Forces—that officers who committed wrongdoing “still rose” in the ranks.

President Aquino on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 declassified the Mayuga report (see links below) upon the request of lawmakers. The report was named after then Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga, who headed the panel of investigators that was formed in the aftermath of the “Hello, Garci” scandal that exposed wiretapped conversations between former Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and then candidate and president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, among others.

Nothing came out of the investigation, with the panel clearing all the generals whose names were dragged in the “Hello, Garci” scandal such as Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Gabriel Habacon, Francisco Gudani and Roy

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Kyamko.

In fact, two officers who were categorically identified in the probe as having campaigned for a party-list group were eventually promoted: Esperon, who became chief of staff in July 2006, and his former deputy Col. Rey Ardo, recently named commanding general of the Army’s 6th infantry division in Cotabato.

But the transcripts of the interviews conducted by the panel could help policymakers in addressing the problematic role of the military in elections.

There are questions worth pursuing. Why provide the military separate funding to guard the vote? Why create a separate military task force that in reality bows to commanders already within the chain of command? Why allow troops in critical areas to bring ballot boxes inside military camps? And why allow them to count the votes?

The panel’s interviews with 70 officers and men, a civilian budget officer and one elections director also revealed the following:

  • Military officers led by Esperon, who was deputy chief of staff for operations (J3) in 2004, asked soldiers to support the government-backed ANAD anti-communist party-list group. This was revealed to the Mayuga panel by then Lt. Col. Elmer Logronio, who was operations officer of a Marine battalion based in the Lanao provinces. According to him, “OJ3 (military parlance for J3 commander or his office) presided [over] a conference re ANAD at GHQ (general headquarters) before 08 April 2004.” He also said that Ardo, who was Esperon’s deputy at J3 and now commander of the Army’s 6th infantry division in Cotabato, visited the Lanao provinces between May 8 and 9, 2004 “but was only checking the stand of ANAD.” ANAD, or Alliance for National Democracy, did not make it in the 2004 race but won three years later, in the 2007 elections, on account of a massive turnout of absentee voters from the military. Ardo himself faced the Mayuga panel but the transcript indicates he was not confronted about ANAD, which was widely believed to have been organized by the military to counter leftist party-list groups.
  • The military indeed used P101 million of its election fund from the Comelec on so-called intelligence projects, confirming a recent Newsbreak report. Then Lt. Col. Gilbert Gapay, budget officer of J3 in 2004, told the Mayuga panel that the AFP received a total of P197 million from the Comelec during the elections—not just P101 million as we previously reported—but that P101 million of this was “intended for intelligence project which was released to J2 (office of the deputy chief of staff for intelligence) and the ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines).” Gapay’s disclosure was corroborated by the budget officer of J2 (office of the deputy chief of staff for intelligence), Maj. Jane Cavanas, who told the panel that J2 spent P85 million in election fund on “many accomplishments neutralizing various threats.” She denied though that wiretapping was one of those projects, referring to allegations that ISAFP wiretapped the conversations between then President Arroyo and elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, leading to the “Hello, Garci” controversy. Gapay is in the plunder suits filed by whistle-blower and former military budget officer George Rabusa against at least 20 officers.
  • At least 200 officers and men in Sulu and Lanao del Sur served as Board of Election Inspectors, or BEIs, a purely civilian function. This was admitted by then Lt. Gen. Roy Kyamko, commander of the Southern Command, who claimed that majority of the soldiers deployed as BEIs came from the Marines. No wonder most of them later mounted a botched mutiny to protest election cheating. At least three officers based in these areas told investigators that the military should never be allowed to act as BEIs since this politicizes them. When asked if the AFP was used as a tool to keep politicians in power in that election, then Lt. Col. Victoriano Pimentel, who was battalion commander in Sulu, told the panel: “Yes, it is not really the will of the people.”
  • An “alleged lawyer” of former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo flew twice to Tawi-Tawi after the May 10, 2004 elections, according to then Col. Rene Pilapil, commander of Task Force Sanga Sanga in the province. Quoting Pilapil, the panel’s transcript said: “Can remember two helicopters requested for landing after the election, by an alleged lawyer of the now First Gentleman.” Mr. Arroyo has been accused of selling previously owned choppers to the Philippine National Police after he had used them to campaign for his wife in 2004. Helicopter pilots who flew the choppers recently told Senate investigators that they did travel to Tawi Tawi.
  • It was Esperon who controlled the disbursement of the P197-million election fund of the AFP. But it’s evident in the panel’s investigation that the funds were not equally distributed to units. Some field commanders said they did not receive extra money for their election operations, while others said they received varying amounts, ranging from P50,000 to P90,000.
  • Despite the creation of Task Force HOPE, the real power of troop deployment and use of funds in the 2004 elections rested with the J-staff and area commanders. Garcia cited the fact that it was J3 that controlled the election budget provided by the Comelec.
  • Then Capt. Valentino Lopez, who served as aide of Garcillano, offered an election director in Region 9 a “huge amount” in exchange for making an Arroyo ally in Zamboanga, Le Peng Wee, win as mayor and to “remedy the big lead” of then presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. over Mrs. Arroyo. This was disclosed by Helen Flores, then Comelec director for Region 9 and one of only two civilians interviewed by the Mayuga panel. The report said, referring to Flores: “She informed Col. Joel Ibanez who was then the U3 (operations chief) of Southcom (AFP Southern Command based in Zamboanga City) and her staff because she was already alarmed that…something might happen to her…That she did not think of reporting the matter to the AFP because she knew that the boss of CPT Lopez and Commissioner Garcillano is the personnel officer in the main office of the Comelec, very influential and could facilitate the demolition of transfer of anyone…but anyway she did not accept the bribe.”

In the end, Garcia summed up the problem: “The thing we need is election reform…elections right now is a function of money…But there is a system in Congress. They will have to protect their own terms. Sometimes you wonder what to do with the system that we have.”—Newsbreak

Read excerpts of the interviews here:

Read the summary of the report here:

 

CATEGORY: Defense & Security, Sectors
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  1. Johnny lin says:

    No news here. Poetic justice is answer to unrelentless prayers for those who masterminded, participated,cooperated in raping our Democracy and thievery of government wealth that they continue to suffer untreatable miserable illnesses and accidents not only on them but also their loved ones. They never stopped with corrupt evil ways when many Filipinos wallowed in deep poverty and children remained poorly educated, hence, there is no reason now to stop wishing them bad luck when they are already suffering. They don’t deserve any iota of mercy. All Filipinos who believed on their guilt should be rewarded eternal moments of schadenfreude.

  2. Congress of the Philippines must pass a resolution dissolving the illegitimate rule of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for cheating and award posthumously the Office of President of the Philippines to the late Fernando Poe Jr. In this way, Gloria cannot and will never say that she had a mandate from the Filipino people. It would be a sweet victory for truth and justice.

  3. kaawaawa Pnas says:

    If it is true there is cheating, then the election result should be voided…Gloria should be strip of her title as president, charge of sabotage of election. Also, all the personality involve should be held liable. The people should now rise up to defend the santity of their ballots. Do what is happening in Middle East.

  4. Jojo Deles says:

    Great if Congress will do that. But even without waiting for Congress, FPJ should be posthumously declared as President. Let millions fill up Luneta and proclaim FPJ the duly elected leader and president from 2004-2010.

  5. Back then, when Madam Gloria Arroyo appeared on nationwide TV and admitted her lapsed of judgment, she should have been booted out of the office right then. Her loyal friends from the CBCP recommended then, to just forgive her after she confessed her sin. By virtue of the Line of Succession, the next higher official of the nation should have stepped in and took over the presidency from her. Those people who voted for FPJ then could have requested for a snap election. Too bad, nobody took the initiative.

  6. with all these evidences & investigations & hearings..would justice be serve?..The country has enough of all of these.We quench for justice…that punishment will be served to those who committed all of these cheating’s, tampering and all of the crimes committed.Oh!how i long to see on tv, read on newspaper that someone from govt who once hold a position will be put to jail.That country men will be able to say that indeed there is justice in the country.

  7. How could our system which includes electoral be tamperable if not tampered by men? How can men among us become corrupt if we love our nation just like the israelis, germans, japanese, and vietnamese whose nation started with meager resources yet have been able to sustain and protect their own people and have high economic growth rate today? Yet corruption in our case is the institution that has become the framework of our existence as a nation if indeed our nation still exists. All of us filipinos are victims of an infection deliberately developed for our nation to become disintegrated and impotent in defending our nation against foreign control. We can trace the development of infection of corruption of our nation thru a sample of the development of any one of our institutions. The dynamics are the same for all systems including for our nation.

    Since it is apparently prominent that the bulk of those who had a major role in this specific incident are PMA graduates, let us trace how was PMA developed?

    At the time of birth of our nation in 1898, the clouds of U.S. invasion was already getting darker and thicker. The birth of our nation which already took place was under threat to be aborted thru forced regression. One of the founding fathers of our defense system, Gen Antonio Luna established the academia militar to breed filipino military officers. This is the only organic development of our defense system.

    When the north american invasion did fall heavily on our land, our academia militar was swept away. Still, our defenses were so potent that the invaders were not able to break the whole of it for years.

    The north american aggressor forces resorted to massive hostage-taking and extermination of the civilians among us that those of the defense forces among us were compelled to give in to their demand for us to surrender to them. 700,000 to 1,000,000 us filipinos died in that terrorism by the north americans.

    Having lost much of our physical defenses, we were not able to resist the north americans tampering with our national developmental code which was to give direction to the development of all of our systems from generation to generation. Included in our systems was our defense system. Included in our defense system was the formation of our military officers thru the military academy.

    The north americans established the Philippine Constabulary Academy which bred filipino military officers to lead the implementation of U.S. defense policies in the Philippines. Later, this academy was expanded to become the Philippine Military Academy.

    It is not that the PMA graduates are corrupt. It is that the development of our systems has been corrupted. It is the original tampering with our national developmental code by the north americans that corrupted our development including that of our defense system. The May uga Report having been tailored-fit to meet the existing institutionalized corruption in the AFP, is the symptom. The defense system direction of development of our nation having been tailored-fit to meet the existing specification of the U.S. defense requirements is the underlying cause.

    The tampering with the development is the worst atrocity any invading nation can inflict on its victims. Having killed millions to suppress the defense against the imposition of its will over the violated nation has damaged a generation. Having corrupted the development of the violated nation to sustain the suppression of defense against the imposition of its will over the violated nation has damaged generations after generations. This is what we need to check if we are to recover the respectability status we inherited from the founding fathers of our nation.

  8. Filcan,,,,,,,Tama ang sinabi mo. Pero kung ako ang tatanungin, dapat ibitin sa Luneta. Para hindi pamarisan. Nakakahiya para sa mga Pilipino na hinahangaan lalu na sa America at sa buong mundo.

  9. alam na ng tao yan.

  10. Mike M. Moreno says:

    Dateline: Richmond BC., Canada. The leadership of NGO Fil-Am Fil-Can Alliance can only agree that a need for the Philippine Congress to pass a resolution dissolving the illegitimate rule of cheater Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should be done and award posthumously to the true presidential contest winner the late Fernando Poe, Jr. and remove GMA’s name as duly elected Philippine President. History need to be changed.

  11. Election cheating is one of those mishiefs the men in uniform routinely performs aside from murder, kidnapping, car-napping and coup d’etat.

    http://jcc34.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/the-mayuga-report-no-longer-shocks-our-conscience/

  12. Did GMA soil the integrity of her father, President Diosdado Macapagal?

    During the 1965 presidential elections where Ferdinand Marcos ran against Diosdado Macapagal, General Ramon Gelvezon had adroitly sidestepped pressure from President’s ally Sergio Osmena to raid the Danao City bailiwick of Cebu’s warlord Ramon Durano. This is how Gen. Gelvezon said in an interview:

    “When Macapagal went to Cebu, he asked to accompany him to the house of Sergio (“Serging”) Osmena, then mayor. He told Sergio Osmena to coordinate with me. I don’t know what he meant by “coordinate”. The poor fellow, the late Serging, took (it) probably as to take orders from him. So one day before or two days before the election, this was in 1965, he calls me up and gives me orders. “You should raid the Danao town, the town of Danao, you raid.”

    I said, “By what reason should I raid?”

    He said, “didn’t you know that you took the order of (sic) the President Macapagal that I can give you orders?”

    I said, “Yes, but if it’s right… you call up General Olivares.. our P.C. chieftain then, get from him clearance to give me orders to raid, I will raid. But I will not take on my own to follow your orders. I’ll follow my .. direct commanding officer, okay?

    So, he called up probably General Olivares, in turn Olivares called me up, “Oy Ramon, what happened?”

    Serging wants me to raid Danao,” I said, “You give me the order, I will follow.”

    What’s the implication?

    I said, “Very much. Imagine raiding a political opponent on the eve of election?” I won’t do that if I were you, but if you give me the order, I’ll follow it”.

    He (General Olivares) said, “No, I will not give the order.”

    Pressed further about the implication of this exchanged relationship with President Macapagal, Gelvezon argued with great conviction that he had preserved his professional integrity.

    “I know Macapagal is a level-headed fellow, who would not utilize you. If he had wanted me to be used, he would have called me confidentially and said, “You make me win in the election.” But he didn’t. He was too decent to tell that to me, or maybe he was too honest to himself. He never gave me instructions, honestly speaking. In conscience and in God, he never told me and he could have told me”.

    (Reynaldo Mendoza, Golden Book, 340-41, Interview with Gelvezon. Also cited in Alfred W. McCoy’s narrative, Career Soldiers, Chapter 4 of “Closer Than Brothers,” 118-19).

  13. Johnny Lin says:

    Jcc
    “the fruit does not fall far from the tree”, age old adage that bears truth on the genes of GLoria Macaraeg Macapagal-Arroyo. Stories retold many times among relatives of Cong Dadong that initially when they moved to Malacanang, a close relative who also acted as social secretary was receiving bagful of hard currencies she kept hidden at the ancestral home in San Juan. When then FL Eva learned how it was to be in power, she took over in receiving and demanding. In the nineties, CAP insurance was popularized by Sobrepenas and made Cong Dadong it’s honorary chairman. When CAP got into trouble financially affecting the education of many Filipinos from their hard earned savings, the principals of CAP, Sobrepenas, were not prosecuted by GMA. The first wife of Cong Dadong was a De la Rosa, sister of movie actor Rogelio Dela Rosa. The children of Cong Dadong in this marriage, Cielo and Arturo, are highly respected in Pampanga for their integrity, honesty,morality and preservation of the good name of their father. The sibling of GMA, Diosdado Jr, has his own stories about questionable financial deals? The defective gene was probably inherited from Macaraeg? Mikey Arroyo is carrying 2 defective dominant genes, Macaraeg and Arroyo, he he he!

  14. The observation is limited only to Dadong’s never having ordered his army officers to cheat for him. But as President he has lots of opportunities to make money – jueteng, vice ang gambling, and govt. licenses/contracts, and soft money from financial institutions.

    Being in Malacanang is like being in a kitchen. It’s hard not to be soiled with dark dust of the cooking pan.

  15. Johnny Lin says:

    The poor boy from Lubao settled in the rich enclave of Forbes Park while still in Malacanang. He wanted to remain simple but the idea living with the wealthy elitists was the spouse following the wishes of the capricious girl ever since she was in high school at Assumption because her close friends were living in that neighborhood. Their San Juan house was bought by a wheeler dealing businessman at exorbitant price justifying the purchase of the new abode. Cong Dadong, ifever, wanted moving to nearby Greenhills. History repeats itself; GMA knew at a young age where the money came from during Malacanang days. Avariciousness became the mantra the second time around the Palace environ!

  16. johnny, it looks like you had been stalking this avaricious girl since her teenage years.. :)

  17. Johnny Lin says:

    Jcc, funny you said that. No, I only met her once in childhood, at lunch in a friend’s house. Teasing my friend, her godbrother, he whispered, “like her mom, di lang bansot, napakapangit pa”. I answered back to him, “sara mo na lang mata mo,,sa bayong bayong perang dumarating sa Malacanang malay mo darating ang araw mauso plastic surgery.” Another friend butted in, “bago siya gaganda mauubos lahat pera ng ninong mo sa kanya kaya kailangan niyang magnakaw ulit pag pumasok siya sa pulitika”Di alam friend namin me “dilang anghel” pala kami, he he he!

  18. johnny… hahaha.. you make my day.. :)

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