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Sep 28th
Home Sections Politics COMELEC Urged to Neutralize “Garci” Boys during Election Period
COMELEC Urged to Neutralize “Garci” Boys during Election Period PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Senator Pimentel's Press Office   
Monday, 28 December 2009 17:28


S enate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) is urging the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to neutralize the so-called “Garci” Boys who were involved in fraud operations in past elections, particularly those holding sensitive positions in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).


Senator Pimentel decried that the election officials who conspired with former COMELEC Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano in the massive “dagdag, bawas” (add, subtract) operations in the 2004 elections have remained unpunished and many of them have even been promoted to higher positions.


He identified one of them as Reynaldo Sumalipao, who was rewarded with the post of director of the COMELEC regional office in the ARMM despite having been implicated in the “Hello, Garci” scandal.


The senator from Mindanao said the Garci Boys should be grounded or transferred to assignments where they will not be directly involved in election-related activities.


“Some COMELEC personnel who were identified as participants in cheating operations in previous elections are still occupying positions especially in Moro land. My humble suggestion is if we want to create credibility for the election in those areas, the COMELEC should exercise its authority to transfer them to assignments where they will not be able to manipulate or rig the elections,” Mr. Pimentel said.


Senator Pimentel criticized the COMELEC for failing to investigate the complaints against then Commissioner Garcillano and his confederates and initiate administrative and criminal cases against them despite the ample documentary evidence of their participation in electoral fraud as unearthed in exhaustive congressional investigation of the “Hello, Garci” scandal


Senator Pimentel says that he has no objection for Congress to enact a law mandating the holding of early elections in hot spots, except that Congress may have no more time to pass such urgent legislation.


In the case of Sumalipao, Senator Pimentel said he should be relieved as regional director of the COMELEC office in the ARMM to dispel any apprehension that he may get involved anew in “special operations” that would taint the outcome of the 2010 polls.


He said that due to the failure to prosecute and remove the notorious Garci Boys, they were utilized by sinister forces for large-scale cheating operations in the 2007 senatorial elections in Mindanao provinces.


Senator Pimentel called on the COMELEC to implement the proposal to hold elections in the ARMM at least l0 days before the May 10, 2010 national and local elections as a practical safeguard against electoral fraud and violence.


He maintained his stand that the poll body can advance the elections in the ARMM and other “hot spots” under the Omnibus Election Code.


“If the COMELEC can postpone the elections in certain trouble spots, logically it follows that it can also advance the holding of elections in critical areas like the ARMM if warranted by circumstances,” the opposition senator said.


Senator Pimentel said he has no objection to the proposal of some lawmakers for Congress to enact a law mandating the holding of early elections in hot spots except that Congress may have no more time to pass such urgent legislation.


He said Congress has only eight session days left before going into the long election recess.


However, Senator Pimentel said that if Congress will work double time and if President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will certify this particular bill, it may yet hurdle the legislative mill in time for the coming polls. # # #

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Last Updated on Monday, 28 December 2009 17:31

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