Press Release
August 1, 2011

KIKO TO SOTTO: LOOK WHO'S TALKING

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan reminds Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III of "the truth on record" regarding Sotto's statements linking the canvass of votes to poll fraud during the 2004 national elections.

"He is being less than honest when he says he wanted just one ER (election return) to be opened. The truth on record is that they questioned 144 of the 177 COCs, or eighty percent of the ERS for a total of some 25 million votes. The general rule is that the canvassing board under our Constitution can not be the venue to raise the issue of electoral fraud, but Sotto and the others wanted to transform the canvassing board into the electoral tribunal and when the issue of going to the ERs is raised by way of a motion 144 times, what is there left for one to do but have the matter noted."

Pangilinan was referring to Sotto's statement, released in the Inquirer, saying, "... I was asking for the opening of just one, just one, just one measly election return!"

"The rules say that going to the ERs can only be done as an exception and with sufficient evidence but they went ahead and insisted on asking that eighty percent of the ERs be opened anyway," Pangilinan points out. "If we agreed with their position and allowed for the scrutiny of twenty five million votes, we would in all likelihood still be canvassing the votes today. This is what the Constitution seeks to prohibit and what we simply complied with. We merely canvass the votes. It is the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, not the canvassing board, that hears and decides cases of election fraud. No less than Senate President Enrile as Chair of the canvassing committee in 2010 and an ally of Sotto in 2004 said that allegations of fraud raised by losing bets would not be entertained in the canvassing committee. It is the same position we took in 2004 because the canvassing laws and rules were one and the same."

He continues, "What they had wanted for us to do then, in a manner of speaking, was to execute or convict the accused when the matter is not for us to decide but for the Tribunal. They wanted legal shortcuts and I decided on the basis of the evidence available then that a wrong, if indeed true, cannot be corrected by another wrong. We decided to uphold the law based on the available evidence."

"We reiterate our position that we were not privy to and did not participate in any cheating operations in 2004. We were simply doing our job as mandated by law. In fact, when the evidence of fraud surfaced a year later with 'Hello Garci' we in the Liberal Party condemned the efforts at vote manipulation and called for Arroyo's resignation."

Senator Pangilinan, a two-term senator who was the first incumbent to run as an independent, and win, in 2007, retorts, "It is ironic for Senator Sotto to be talking this way now. When the evidence of cheating and irregularities in 2004 became more convincing with the Hello Garci exposť, instead of condemning GMA and calling for her resignation he did the exact opposite, suddenly developing amnesia by joining her administration's ticket in 2007 and embracing the administration he had earlier accused of massive cheating."

"Dapat sagutin niya ang tanong, 'Ano ang nangyari sa kanyang paninindigan sa laban sa pandaraya ni GMA dahil bumaligtad siya at sumirko papunta kay GMA noong 2007niyang akusahan ito ng pandaraya noong 2004. I, on the other hand, out of principle, refused to accept both the administration and opposition offers to be part of their tickets, and instead ran as an independent in 2007 and won."

The senator concludes: "The public should be reminded that he has no moral ascendancy to comment on the issue of fraud for the simple reason that he flip-flopped on the issue and embraced the cheater in the end. Yes, by all means let's call a spade a spade. He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones."

"Kung sa kanyang palagay at 'di katanggap-tanggap ang mga kilos natin noon, eh mas lalo namang 'di kapani-paniwala ang pagbabaligtad niya noong 2007. Wala siyang karapatang pumuna. Ayon nga sa kasabihan, tingnan muna niya ang uling at putik sa mukha niya."

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