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For 2016? Grace Poe seeks poll reforms to prevent repeat of 'Hello Garci'

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe, one of the potential presidential candidates in 2016, is proposing electoral reform measures to prevent a repeat of the alleged cheating during the 2004 polls.

In a privilege speech on Wednesday, Poe recalled how her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., lost in the 2004 presidential race due to the alleged electoral schemes of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

"We should prevent these from happening again. We should ensure that our right to elect our leaders is protected," Poe said.

Poe has filed Senate Resolution No. 679 aiming to preempt computer-aided, technology-driven electoral offenses by assessing the current automated system and conducting an omnibus review of the Electoral Code and relevant laws.

She is also pushing for the immediate passage of the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act to encourage more people who may know election offenses to come out.

The neophyte senator also wants to amend the Anti-Wiretapping Law to include election fraud as one of the instances by which a court could allow a wiretap aside from cases related to terrorism, espionage and crimes involving national security.

"We need to equip the authorities with the proper tools so they can successfully detect, preempt and prosecute would-be cheaters and unscrupulous defrauders of elections," Poe said.

Poe wants to extend the prescriptive period for election offenses from the current five years to 10 years, to prevent future poll cheats from evading prosecution.

In the 2004 polls, Arroyo defeated Poe's father by more than a million votes.

A year after the elections, the "Hello Garci" tapes surfaced and revealed the supposed wiretapped conversations between Arroyo and Comelec commissioner Virgilio "Garci" Garcillano.

In the conversations, it was supposedly discussed how the 2004 poll results in Mindanao were rigged in favor of Arroyo.

Poe is urging Filipinos to remain vigilant and prevent another "Hello Garci" scandal. -Louis Bacani

ANTI-WIRETAPPING LAW ARROYO AND COMELEC ELECTORAL CODE FERNANDO POE JR. HELLO GARCI LOUIS BACANI POE PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO PROTECTION ACT SENATE RESOLUTION NO
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