Press Release
February 23, 2016


BAGUIO CITY--Sen. Grace Poe, the leading presidential candidate, is very certain she was not the one being sought out by former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, who was spotted at a hotel in Cagayan de Oro City where Poe was staying.

In fact, she would be the last thing the former election official would wish to see.

"Hindi ko siya nakita, pero apparently nandoon daw siya sa hotel namin. Nagtataka nga ako, kasi kung mayroon man siyang iiwasan, siguradong ako 'yun," Poe said at a press conference in Baguio City Tuesday.

Poe said she was unaware that Garcillano was there; even if she knew, there was no reason to speak to him.

"Ang isang katulad niya, bakit ginagawang consultant ng kung sinuman?" she said.

Garcillano, who was appointed by former president Gloria Arroyo to the COMELEC, has been blamed for orchestrating the alleged massive cheating that occurred in the 2004 presidential elections.

Poe's father, Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), was the most popular candidate in the said presidential race and was poised to beat Arroyo, an incumbent. When the counting was over, Arroyo won by 1.2 million votes.

A recording of a phone conversation later surfaced where Arroyo was speaking with Garcillano and asking him if she could secure the one million votes in Mindanao needed to win the elections.

In 2014, after she won as senator, Poe made a privilege speech about electoral reforms and cited the case of her father, who many believe was cheated of the presidency.

"Siguradong hindi ako 'yun," Poe said when asked if she could be the person for whom Garcillano was acting as consultant.

"Hanapin niyo ang CCTV ng hotel. 'Yun nalang ang masasabi ko, kung sino ang kanyang mga kinakausap. Pero maski na sino, basta election-related, sa tingin ko hindi nararapat," she said.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, the opposition's presidential bet, was also staying at the same hotel as Poe. Garcillano did not say who his client was.

Earlier in the campaign, Poe called on non-government organizations, election watchdog groups and media entities to be vigilant in the 2016 elections to ensure that no repeat of the 2004 election fraud would happen.

A Pulse Asia survey showed that 39 percent of voters expect cheating to occur in the polls through vote-buying, tampering of machines and the presence of flying voters. A higher number--48 percent--believe the elections will be clean and credible.

"May iba't ibang paraan ng pandaraya. Siguraduhin natin na 'wag tayong maging kampante o complacent tungkol dito. Kaya hindi nakapagtataka na aabot ng higit 30 percent ang mga patuloy pa rin na nagdududa," Poe said.

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