Perjury, falsification charges filed against Garcillano
- Jess Diaz, Michael Punongbayan () - January 12, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Charges of perjury and falsification of public documents have been filed with the Office of the Ombudsman against former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano for his alleged lying under oath about a trip to Singapore and presenting fake travel papers to lawmakers investigating alleged irregularities in the 2004 polls.

The charges, filed yesterday by Bayan Muna Representatives Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares, arose from the investigation of the “Hello, Garci” tape recording scandal in 2005 by three committees of the House of Representatives. 

In the tapes, a female caller, whose voice is similar to that of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, discusses a plot to rig the 2004 presidential election with “Garci,” who is believed to be Garcillano.

Casiño said their filing of charges against the former election official more than six years after the investigation “is part of our quest for accountability and justice.” He said that although Garcillano is covered by the investigation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on election irregularities in 2004 and 2007, no charges have yet been filed against him.

“With Garci, we are using the Al Capone style of catching a culprit. The important thing for now is for cases to be filed against him or he can leave the country and go scot-free,” Colmenares said, referring to the American-Italian mob boss convicted and imprisoned for tax evasion and not for more serious crimes. 

The Comelec and the DOJ have so far filed electoral sabotage charges against Arroyo and former Comelec chief Benjamin Abalos with a Pasay City court. The two are now in detention– Arroyo in a suite at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and Abalos at the Southern Police District headquarters in Taguig City.

In their complaint with the Ombudsman, the two lawmakers said Garcillano lied when he testified before the House that he did not go to Singapore on July 14, 2005, when the three investigating committees were seeking him and had in fact issued a warrant for his arrest. They said the former election official’s claim was not true because a DOJ report submitted to the committees showed he left the country and entered Singapore on July 14 on board a Lear jet owned by businessman Ricky Razon.

Casiño and Colmenares also cited a note verbale from Singapore showing Garcillano’s arrival in that country that day.

“As heretofore discussed, the note verbale from Singapore shows that respondent actually went to Singapore on 14 July 2005. There appears to be no reason why Singapore would issue a note verbale, which says that respondent was in Singapore on 14 July 2005, if respondent was not really in Singapore on said date,” they said in their complaint.

“Thus, the fact that Singapore issued the said note verbale only means that respondent was really in Singapore on said date. Surely he has an obligation to tell the truth during the hearings not only because he was a public official but also because he was under oath,” they stressed.

They pointed out that to prove his claim that he was in the country on July 14, Garcillano submitted to the committees a passport that had no departure or arrival entries on it.

But the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which prints passports on security paper for the Department of Foreign Affairs, later certified that Garcillano’s passport “did not conform to standard” and was therefore a product of forgery, they added.

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