Oust-Gloria Call Mounts
For allegedly stealing
the 2004 elections, the 14th President of the Philippines faces
mounting calls for her resignation. An increasing number of groups and
individuals believe there is only one penalty for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s
crime of electoral fraud – her ouster.
BY DABET CASTAÑEDA
OUSTING THE PRESIDENT:
Former NBI Deputy Director for Intelligence Samuel Ong is flanked by
actor-opposition leader Rez Cortez (left) and Patriots initiator Fr.
Joe Dizon (right) in a press conference in Makati, June 10.
Macapagal-Arroyo’s credibility has been recently blemished by the
multi-million jueteng (illegal numbers game) scandal that dragged her and
her family to the controversy. But it is this week’s expose about
wiretapped conversations between her and election officials that may lead
to her eventual ouster from the presidency, quarters said.
Over radio station
DZRH on June 8, the President warned punishment awaits those responsible
for wiretapping her and Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner
Virgilio Garcillano’s mobile phone conversations at the height of the
canvassing of election returns of the May 2004 elections.
Reacting two days
later, Fr. Joe Dizon, an activist priest since martial law and initiator
of the 2004 poll watchdog, Patriots, said that Macapagal-Arroyo should not
confine the issue to wiretapping technicalities.
“Electoral fraud is a
bigger crime and it is the President who should be punished,” Dizon said.
The tapes apparently
revealed damaging statements that could confirm persistent allegations the
President had stolen the presidential election in May last year from her
closest rival, actor-turned-politician Fernando Poe, Jr. The actor died of
heart attack last November.
“Mother of all tapes”
On June 10, lawyer
Samuel Ong, former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deputy director
for intelligence appeared in a press conference in Makati and presented to
the media copies of what he called the “mother of all tapes” - the
original copy of the controversial wiretapped conversation.
The former NBI
official also called for the President to resign because of electoral
Ong said the tapes in
his possession would prove that Macapagal-Arroyo did steal the people’s
mandate in last year’s elections.
He further said the
controversial conversation by the President and the Comelec commissioner
was wiretapped by agents of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines (Isafp) on orders of Malacañang itself to specifically
monitor the Comelec.
In a slur turn of
events however it was the President’s and Vice President Noli de Castro’s
conversations with the Comelec that were tapped and caught on tape.
The tape caught Mrs.
Macapagal-Arroyo cautioning the electoral body on the votes in specific
areas in Mindanao – Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Lanao.
watchers in Mindanao last year had
accused the President of unleashing an all-out war and anti-terrorism
campaign that displaced 500,000 refugees to pave the way for “winning” in
the island. Combined
efforts of the Comelec, the military and pro-Macapagal-Arroyo political
clans delivered winning votes through massive fraud, reports also said.
The reports also
said that in 11 municipalities in Maguindanao, “election” was already a
done deal the day before the scheduled poll. Many precincts were canvassed
inside the 6th ID, PA headquarters where no media and poll watchers were
allowed to enter.
In Lanao del Sur
where certificates of candidacy (COCs) were sold to the highest bidders,
Macapagal-Arrpyp led by 84,999 votes, and by 32,470 votes in the provinces
of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi where the military reigned supreme, it was
Meanwhile, Dizon said
the recent surfacing of evidences of fraud vindicated what the Patriots
had earlier declared - that the 2004 elections were “tainted, to say the
In its report, Patriots revealed it
documented 1,642 incidents of fraud and 191 cases of election-related
violence nationwide. The church-based election watchdog obtained
information through fact-finding missions in areas considered election
hotspots, and calls to its hotlines.
Even as Malacañang spokespersons tried to
belittle Patriots’ allegations as “sensationalization” of “isolated
incidents,” its findings coincided with admissions made by some Comelec
officials in separate media interviews that there was fraud in the May 10
Spokespersons of the Philippine National
Police (PNP) themselves agreed that the May 2004 poll is “the bloodiest”
in the last two decades,” contradicting Malacañang claims that the
election was “generally peaceful.”
Among the types of fraud cited in the
Patriots report is that of voters’ names not appearing in the voters’
list. An exit poll conducted by the survey group Social Weather Station (SWS)
on May 10 last year showed that about 900,000 persons were unable to vote.
SWS Executive Director Dr. Mahar Mangahas estimated that the figure could
come up to as many as two million.
Oust GMA, Noli
The surfacing of more
evidences of fraud is dragging Macapagal-Arroyo to the edge, Dizon said,
adding that the tapes made public by Ong could not restore the president’s
morale ascendancy anymore. “Hindi na makakaligtas si GMA” (Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo cannot defend herself in this), the Catholic priest said.
“If she still has
some sense of decency, patriotism and love for country as what she claims,
all she has to do is to resign and allow a peaceful transition of power,”
the activist priest said.
Dizon also said the
President’s vice president should resign as well. “He has not proven
anything up to this day,” he said. “He has no capacity to lead our country
which is obviously in turmoil and has been experiencing dire economic
On the other hand,
the Bagong Alyangsang Makabayan (Bayan – New Patriotic Alliance) called
for the people to troop to the San Carlos Seminary along the Epifanio
delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) in Guadalupe, Makati where Ong has taken
In a statement, Bayan
called on the people to defend Ong and the strong evidence of fraud which
proves the illegitimacy of the present administration.
representatives from Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s Party
visited Ong at noon June 11 to show their support for the former NBI
director who fears for his life due to insistent threats of arrest by
police and military forces.
Late evening of June
10, groups of policemen trooped to the vicinity of the seminary sending
concerns that Ong would be arrested. Random interviews with the policemen
revealed they came from the provinces of Bongabong, Palayan and Cabanatuan
in Nueva Ecija. Bulatlat
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