MANILA, August 18, 2005 (MALAYA) THE United Opposition yesterday said it has a "roomful" of evidence of the administration having prepared thousands of tampered copies of election returns in 2004 at the Horizon Hotel (formerly Byron Hotel) in Mandaluyong City.

The opposition said the tampered returns, containing pre-computed votes, were switched for ERs in selected provinces.

Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano (NP, Taguig-Pateros), along with colleagues in the minority, held a slide presentation at the minority’s office to show why the administration and its allies at the House would do everything to stop the presentation of evidence of election fraud by President Arroyo.

The opposition showed a picture of a room where mounds of tampered ERs were being kept but declined to say its location in the light of a raid conducted by combined military and police operatives on a house in San Mateo, Rizal.

The operatives seized election documents at the house rented by handwriting expert Segundo Tabayoyong which the opposition said would proveelection cheating.

Cayetano said prior to the elections, a "shadowy group" composed of people led by an administration congressman housed their vote-padding operation at the fifth floor of Horizon Hotel.

He did not name the congressman.

The group, Cayetano said, first mapped or determined the provinces where Arroyo had a strong "showing" in her popularity ratings. These were Pampanga, Cebu, Iloilo and Bohol. He said the areas were chosen so that there would be no suspicion of irregularity over an Arroyo landslide win.

"They padded the voters’ lists systematically, enlarged the vote banks of the favored candidates and provided enough leeway to add votes without resulting in statistical improbability. Increase the number of voters and you have the margins to do your magic. Mayroon nang naka-alkansya," Cayetano said.

He said the tampered ERs could be connected to the 33,000 excess ERs which Election Commissioner Resurreccion Borra had admitted the Comelec overprinted. Up to now, the Comelec has not explained if these were already accounted for, Cayetano said.

Cayetano said these ERs could translate to some six million padded votes.

He pointed to glaring "irregularities" in ERs from Cebu City with he said showed indelible inks in the "United Colors of Benetton," and anomalously small thumbprints of election inspectors, which he said was like those of midget TV personality "Mahal."

"So while FPJ (Fernando Poe Jr.), Ping Lacson, Raul Roco and Bro. Eddie Villanueva were still tirelessly campaigning, the Byron Hotel operators were already tirelessly filling up the election returns, comfortably housed in air-conditioned rooms which had thousands and thousands of election returns to pre-fabricate," he said.

"There is only one problem – halatang-halata ang masamang gawain… there were no efforts to hide their wicked work," he said, noting the "taras" or the candidates’ vote tally in the ERs were clean, as if done in an air-conditioned room instead of a "hot, busy precinct by tired sleepy teachers."

Another example presented was the ER from precinct 309 of San Fernando, Pampanga. Cayetano said the serial number was obviously faked because it was printed with the use of a numbering machine "which can be bought in any stationary store."

"This means that even before the Filipinos could go to the precincts, the votes had already been cast for them. Now we know why the Arroyo "Palakpak Boys" (defenders at the House) kept on saying ‘noted and noted’ (during the canvassing of votes)," Cayetano said.

He said had the boxes containing the ERs been opened, "it would have shown that many of the ERs were prepared by one hand and that the same hand appears also in ERs of Pampanga, Iloilo and Bohol. It’s the same story as the provincial certificate of canvass of votes."

Despite this, he said, Arroyo still needed to call up then Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

He also said Garcillano’s role in the 2004 elections was "multifaceted" as he was the "overseer of fraud in Mindanao."

"Garci was the liaison officer between politicians on one hand and elections officials and the military on the other hand. He was the damage controller who ensured that no complaints of fraud were filed or made public. Garci was the paymaster for bribes to elections officials," he said.

The part of the Garci tape where Garcillano was telling Arroyo, "Maayos naman po yun pagpapataas sa inyo dito (ng boto)," only proved that Arroyo committed a "monumental wrongdoing," Cayetano said.

"Covering up and lying about it afterwards is a monumental wrongdoing. People who commit monumental wrongdoing do not deserve Malacañang; they deserve Muntinlupa. Public office is public trust. It is not private property. What is the truth? Did she steal? Did she cheat? Did she lie? What is the truth?" he said.

During his Power Point presentation, Cayetano switched Environment Secretary Mike Defensor’s picture with that the information officer of former Iraq President Sadam Hussein during the US assault on Baghdad. – Wendell Vigilia

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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