Press Release
October 18, 2011

Cayetano: 'Garbage in, Garbage out in Comelec'

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano questioned anew the reappointment and/or promotion of various Commission on Elections (COMELEC) officials linked to the Hello Garci scandal as the Senate investigation on electoral fraud began today.

"The reason why poll fraud existed in 2004 and 2007, and continues to exist today or perhaps even in the future is because COMELEC allowed it to exist by letting anomalous individuals run sensitive positions," he said.

The senator grilled Atty. Ray Sumalipao regarding his performance of his duties as the Lanao del Sur provincial election supervisor in the 2004 elections and his eventual promotion to his present post as the ARMM Regional election director.

"I'm not questioning your qualification. I'm questioning your performance. Bakit sa mga area na na-a-assign ka laging may dayaan na nagaganap at tapos nap-promote ka pa? " he asked.

In the Garci tapes, Atty. Sumalipao was mentioned by former commissioner Virgilio Garcillano as the one tasked to refute the expose of an official of the National Citizen's Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) revealing that cheating occurred in Lanao del Sur. Garcillano also gave former President Gloria Macapagal -Arroyo the impression that Sumalipao was under his command.

The minority leader noted that based on NAMFREL records, vote padding occurred in Lanao del Sur citing differences in the certificate of canvassing (COC) and election returns (ER) of the town of Poona Bayabao.

"In the election returns for that town, GMA got 964 votes and the late Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ) got 767 votes. However, in the COC, GMA got 4,700 votes and FPJ got zero votes," he said.

He also questioned Sumalipao's inaction despite the presence of the NAMFREL report, lamenting the latter's plea of innocence saying that he only learned of the report after the election results have been finalized.

"I've heard that so many times. Kahit sa No Other Woman sinabi 'yan pero ang totoo may iba naman pala," Cayetano responded after Sumalipao vowed that "in his heart he did not cheat".

Cayetano stressed his belief that the Senate poll fraud probe will help the COMELEC place 'corrective measures' to establish accountability of officials who are tasked to push for honest and credible elections.

The lawmaker also urged other individuals who took part in the alleged electoral fraud to come forward and speak up like Atty. Ray Sumalipao.

"I am appealing to all the witnesses who have gone hiding, a lot of people have sacrificed so much for this, now is the time to come out. Once and for all, I hope we can look forward to a clean 2013 election by resolving the issues of the past and finally unearthing the truth," he said.

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