Sen. Osmena points to ‘Garci boys’ alleged wide- spread vote-buying, cheating in May 9 elections

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Sen. Sergio Osmena III (Photo: senate.gov.ph)

The votes obtained by at least eight senators in the May 9 elections were padded by six to 10 percent following the “sale of votes” by the Comelec insiders that he called “Garci boys,” Senator Sergio Osmena revealed recently.

The Garci boys, Osmena said, were the “allies” of former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano (in the famous “Hello Garci” scandal) who was accused of conspiring with then President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to rig the 2004 elections.

Osmena noted the four to five Garci boys have remained with the Comelec even after the scandal. He said they also cheated in the May 9 elections.

But he refused give their names because he said, to do so, he has to go back to the transcripts of the Senate hearings on the Hello Garci scandal.

The outgoing Senator made the expose on the alleged padded votes of at least eight senators a few days after he divulged the alleged widespread cheating in the last polls.

He expressed hope that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will investigate the matter and he assured his willingness to help in the probe.

“If that’s the case, it’s better that there will be no more election. Just tell the Comelec to choose the president, the vice-president because (there) will just (be) cheating,” said Osmena.

In the senatorial race, he cited the case of one senator who entered the Magic 12 after six percent or 2.7 million were added to the votes.

Pressed for the identities of the eight senators, Osmena refused to name them, saying the numbers are not yet verified until the final Comelec count.

Osmena, who failed in his re-election bid, claimed he lost more than three3 percent of the vote in the Northern Provinces, Samar and Regions 3 and 4.

The Senator had consistently landed on the 6th and 7th slots in the SWS and Pulse Asia surveys, but ended 14th in the quick count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

However, Osmena admitted he cannot prove this, but this is just historical because he had run four times for senator. In the Philippines, a senator has a six-year term. He can seek reelection after the end of his first term.

Despite his allegation of cheating, Osmeña said he would no longer file an election protest. He said the process would be difficult since the alleged cheating took place not only in one place but all over the country.

“It’s widespread, practically in every province, local cheating, vote buying. I’m not even talking about vote-buying; vote-buying has become very normal. It’s very disappointing that the voters were spoiled, they’re really waiting for that,” he said.

But if the Comelec investigates the cheating in the last elections, Osmena said he will show them his numbers.
“We need first to (open up) the Comelec because cheating here was somewhat complicated due to the use of Precinct Count Optical Scanners (PCOS) but they hacked them,” stressed Osmena.

Osmena said the Garci boys operated for candidates who paid them because “this is business.”

At the sidelines of the last hearing of $81-million money laundering at Bayview Park Hotel Manila, Osmena said he was offered “protection of his vote” by common friends. He said PHP 10 will be paid for every additional vote.

“Let’s say, I want one million votes at PHP 10 (each), so that’s a total of PHP 10 million. Others had a lot of money ‘so give me five million votes at P10 (each),’ that’s P50 million,” noted the Senator.

Osmena said he declined the offer because he didn’t want to win an election through cheating.

While people may think there’s no more election fraud because President Noynoy Aquino had appointed “good people” in the poll body, Osmena said they still cannot control people on the ground.

Sought for his comment on the assertions of Vice-presidential candidate Sen. Bongbong Marcos that he was cheated, Osmena said his fellow senator can check on it during the official canvassing of votes.

Marcos related that while he was leading by over one million votes during the initial quick count, he was overtaken by administration standard bearer Camarines Rep. Leni Robredo after an Information Technology (IT) expert from Smartmatic introduced a new script to the transparency server that resulted to a change in the hash code.

Although he was leading in the quick count, Marcos said he was overtaken by Robredo the next morning.

But Osmena who also served as Robredo’s campaign manager, believed Robredo overtook Marcos after votes from Mindanao and Visayas especially in Region 6 were counted. (MCA)

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