Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. V,    No. 18      June 12 - 18, 2005      Quezon City, Philippines











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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.


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.


President Gloria 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 fraud.

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.

Mindanao vote

The tape caught Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo cautioning the electoral body on the votes in specific areas in Mindanao – Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Lanao.

Independent poll 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 also learned.


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 least.”

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 election.

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 crisis.”

Seminary refuge

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 refuge.

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.

Party-list 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 




© 2004 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

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