Comelec, DOJ take over investigation of 2004 poll fraud
- Sheila Crisostomo () - February 9, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The joint panel of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will assume the lead in the investigation on the alleged cheating during the 2004 national elections.

According to Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, they have begun their fact-finding efforts on the alleged rigging of the 2004 polls, which primarily involved former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

“They (Senate) have not investigated this. They have discussed this twice and nothing happened so we are taking over on the fact-finding,” Brillantes said.

When the joint panel was formed, it was agreed that it would look into the alleged electoral fraud during the 2007 midterm polls, while the Senate will handle the probe on the 2004 national elections.

The result of the alleged 2007 midterm election fraud led to the filing of electoral sabotage cases against Arroyo, former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. and provincial election supervisors Lintang Bedol of Maguindanao, Lilian Radam of South Cotabato and Yogie Martirizar of North Cotabato.

However, Comelec can only file election offense cases for the poll irregularities in 2004 because Republic Act 9369 or the Poll Automation Law, which provides for electoral sabotage, was enacted in January 2007.

Brillantes added that Comelec’s representatives to the joint panel had already been instructed to start the fact-finding by inviting Garcillano, who was allegedly wiretapped while talking with Arroyo about the manipulation of results during the 2004 elections.

The poll chief admitted that they could only invite but not compel Garcillano to appear since the panel does not have subpoena powers, unlike the Senate.

In a press conference in his hometown in Bukidnon last July 2011, Garcillano announced that he would not participate in the joint investigation of Comelec and DOJ.

Garcillano stressed that he had nothing more to say as he already testified before a congressional inquiry in the past.

ANDAL AMPATUAN SR. BENJAMIN ABALOS BRILLANTES COMELEC COMELEC CHAIRMAN SIXTO BRILLANTES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE GARCILLANO GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO LILIAN RADAM OF SOUTH COTABATO AND YOGIE MARTIRIZAR OF NORTH COTABATO LINTANG BEDOL OF MAGUINDANAO MAGUINDANAO GOV
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