|Senator Tito Sotto.|
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Central Luzon top cop rules out separate probe on poll fraud whistle-blower
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, July 31, 2011-Chief Superintendent Edgar Ladao, Philippine National Police regional director for Central Luzon have ruled out the possibility of conducting a separate investigation into allegations of massive irregularities in the 2004 and 2007 elections by Senior Superintendent Rafael Santiago, a former provincial director in Zambales.
He said that the allegations made by Santiago on the alleged switching of election returns at the Batasang Pambansa building in the 2004 presidential polls no longer fall under the jurisdiction of the PNP regional office because the ball is now in the hands of the Department of Justice.
“The case is now being handled by the DOJ. Even the PNP leadership in Camp Crame can’t touch it,” he said in an interview after presiding over a command conference with Nueva Ecija police director Senior Superintendent Roberto Aliggayu and provincial directors of Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales at the regional police headquarters in Camp Olivas Friday afternoon.
The revelations of Santiago were made public by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday, two days after she met the police officer and five others.
Santiago claimed four break-ins at Batasang Pambansa in January 2005 in which his team stole 6,000 original ERs and replaced them with fake ones so that then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would still emerge as the winner in the event of a recount. Official poll results showed her winning over closest rival Fernando Poe Jr. by over a million votes.
Ladao also said that he does not have anything to do with Santiago’s relief as Zambales provincial director last July 7.
“We just received the order to relieve him,” he said, without specifying who issued the order. He said Santiago is now assigned in Camp Crame.
Ladao echoed the statement of PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. who said he was not privy to the reason behind Santiago’s relief as Zambales provincial director.
Commenting on Santiago’s expose, he said that he supports him and his fellow officers in their quest for truth but not when they followed illegal orders, referring to the switching of the ERs.
Cruz said Santiago is considered on absence without official leave (AWOL) for failing to report to the PNP Director for Operations last July 7 after his relief from Zambales. He said Santiago would be given 30 days to report, apart from the 10 days earlier given him, or face expulsion from the police service.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III, campaign manager of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. in the 2004 Presidential elections, welcomes the revelations of various witnesses attesting to the switching of election returns in the custody of the House of Representatives in favor of then candidate Arroyo, but at the same time regretted that it’s only now that they came out. His statements are directly quoted as follows:
“The public will recall that during the national canvassing of votes for president in the House of Representatives, I moved to open just one dubious ballot box to determine if it would tally with the election returns, but I was outvoted by those in the camp of then President Arroyo. Had my motion been granted, we would not have this spectacle of spilling the beans when it is too late,” Sotto stated.
“We believe in our hearts that FPJ won the elections for president in 2004, but the election returns appeared to be telling us another story. Now that we have the operatives themselves coming out to reveal their participation in this fraud on the Filipino people, let us hear them out, as we wish that they came out 7 years earlier in May of 2004. Truth-telling must be timely to be beneficial. ‘Aanhin pa ang damo, kung patay na ang kabayo,’ is an appropriate Filipino saying, Sotto concluded. (Jason de Asis)
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this blog do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of "THE CATHOLIC MEDIA NETWORK NEWS ONLINE".