Thursday, July 21, 2005


Date: July 20, 2005
Ref: Omeng / (02) 5526731

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) said today the well-documented revelation of former Senator JohnOsmeña about padding of votes for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in at least 10 regions, including his home-province, Cebu, explains why administration lawmakers dismissed with a plain "noted" all motions of the opposition to examine tampered certificates of canvass, election returns and other election documents during the congressional canvassing of the votes cast in the 2004 presidential election.

Pimentel said Osmeña's finding that Ms. Arroyo's vote count in Cebuwas fraudulently padded in Cebu alone was the most credible confirmation of the opposition's claim that the administration camp fabricated the certificates of canvass and election returns with the connivance of election local government officials to give her an incredible one million vote lead over Fernando Poe, Jr. in the Central Visayan province.

"John has uncovered Cebu's quicksand political pit where Gloria's false claims of victory are fast sinking and from which the more she struggles, the more she sinks," he said.

Pimentel debunked Malacañang's puerile criticism questioning why it is only now that Osmeña, who ran for senator under Arroyo's party in 2004, exposed this election bombshell.

He said that during the congressional canvassing of votes in May-June,2004, John Osmeña and his cousin, Sen. Serge Osmeña, articulated their view that the Cebu votes for Arroyo were "statistically improbable" considering that in 38 municipalities in the province, the President obtained 80 percent of the votes consistently and Mr. Poe got 10 percent of the votes consistently in the same localities.

Moreover, Pimentel said the opposition found out that in several towns, "more votes were recorded than the registered votes. He said had certain election returns in Cebu been opened, it would have been shown that many were prepared by only one hand.

The minority leader said the political turmoil in the country would have been avoided had President Arroyo's legislative allies agreed to make the canvass of votes for president and vice president transparent. "Instead, in their haste to proclaim Gloria and Noli as the winners, Sen. Francis Pangilinan and Iloilo Rep. Raul Gonzales merely 'noted' every objection raised by the opposition during the canvass," Pimentel said.

Pangilinan and Gonzales chaired the Senate and House panel respectively, in the joint congressional canvassing.

Pimentel said the administration legislators even accused him of being obstructionist and delaying the proclamation of Arroyo and De Castro.

"Now the shoe is on the other foot with Secretary Michael Defensor proposing to open the ballot boxes in a desperate attempt to prove the Gloria and Noli won the election. Unfortunately for them, it is too late in the day to do so. Nothing will erase the public perception that the administration cheated the people of their votes. Haste can truly make waste of a nation!" Pimentel said.

"Gloria and Noli should simply resign and save the nation from more discord," Pimentel said.

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