Timeline of Hello Garci scandal

From Wikipilipinas: The Hip 'n Free Philippine Encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The following is a Timeline of Hello Garci scandal.


June 2005

Monday, June 6

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye holds a press conference, plays both recordings, says that both contain the voice of the President. Bunye said he "must have allowed" the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) to listen to the two CDs and burned it in a reporter's computer hard disk. Bunye offered to play the CDs to reporters. "If you are prepared, if you wish to review both tapes, we will give you maybe an hour, or hour and a half, to review both tapes, after this we will turn these over to the NBI for investigation," he said then. Bunye's CDs were played in the desktop computer shared by Tanod reporter Rose Novenario and radio station dzME's Leo Palo III while some newspaper reporters recorded them. One version was aired over government-owned radio station dzRB. Other reporters asked for permission to copy the CDs in their laptop computers.

Bunye, also said the voice of "Gary" is not that of Garcillano but that "this person will come out in due time." He also indicated that Malacañang knows who the President was talking to on the other line. "...if they are trying to show that this was a conversation by the President and a Comelec Commissioner, then this plan will backfire, because we know the other person on the other line." He then expressed Malacañang's outrage over the fact that "the telephone of the President has been tapped." He said the act was illegal and is punishable under the Revised Penal Code. When asked whether the female person's voice was that of President Arroyo, he said: "That is the President's voice, but the other party on the line is not that of a commissioner. There is a conversation. This is privileged conversation between the President and the political leader." The major networks broadcasts the tapes, and continues to do so until June 7.

Tuesday, June 8

Suspended lawyer Allan Paguia says he was the source of the recordings. Paguia intended his distribution to be on an installment basis to keep the Palace in the dark.

Friday, June 10

On June 10, whistleblower Samuel Ong, a former deputy director of the country's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) announced in a public press conference in Manila that he was the source of a set of audio tapes in circulation for the past week around the country. The master tape is allegedly of a wiretapped conversation between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Virgilio Garcillano, an official of the Commission on Elections. Ong currently holds, as he claims, one out of four known master tapes that may incriminate Arroyo. He says that he did not tape Arroyo's conversation himself; the evidence was just entrusted to him by another source.

The tape allegedly proves, according to Ong, that Arroyo rigged the 2004 national election to ensure her reelection. Administration officials and lawmakers countered by saying that such tapes may be inadmissible in a court of law because of the country's anti-wiretapping law, and cannot be used against Arroyo. Ong sympathizers responded that the law is only applicable to private conversations; Garcillano and Arroyo are public officials discussing a very public activity (i.e., the election). Ong sympathizers further claimed extraordinary circumstances, and said that wiretapping the president is okay on the grounds of the preservation of national security. Poll fraud is against national security, and is punishable by law. The office of the president maintained that the tapes are inadmissible because of the anti-wiretapping law.

Ong used to work in intelligence for the NBI for almost twenty years, and from 2001-2002, served under Arroyo. He said he would allow a neutral authority like the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Scotland Yard to confirm the authenticity of the tapes, since the accused is in control of the NBI. Eventually, a forensic voice identification analysis conducted by the Australian firm Uniquest found the controversial audiotape "genuine, unadulterated and undoctored."

Arroyo supporters said that the whole government should support Arroyo in full. Protests began as people in the street countered by saying that it is okay to withdraw support for Arroyo, since she is not the legitimate president anyway. Later in the day, some politicians declared support for Arroyo, many of whom were winners of the same election that is in question.

Later that night, Samuel Ong, fearing for his life, went to San Carlos Seminary seeking refuge and sanctuary. Later, the venue was surrounded by hundreds of Ong sympathizers, who went on to start a vigil in the area. Police were also deployed there for the night as the police were on Red Alert in the capital.

Saturday, June 11

On June 11, Ong resided in the seminary. Sympathizers in the area vowed to prevent his arrest and/or death. Later, the Office of the President formally denied the accusations to the public, although Arroyo's spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, had earlier acknowledged that it was Arroyo's voice in the Ong tape. Mass protests grew around the country, by the thousands. Some protesters wore black. Authorities prevented protesters from forming with a "no permit, no protest" policy. Ong sympathizers countered by using their right to a free assembly, thus, no permit is necessary. The police used force, allegedly, against the protesters, as protesters' numbers swelled in different areas around the country.

Susan Roces, widow of former opposition leader Fernando Poe, Jr., met with Ong in a pledge of support for Ong. Administration leaders accused Ong or working for the opposition. Ong replied that he is nonpartisan, and the opposition was just supporting his "act of conscience". He also said that he never met the opposition before until they one by one approached pledging him support. Arroyo supporters then claimed Ong's stand was caused by opposition pressure. Ong denied it and promised to explain the tape further. Other leaders affirmed Ong for bringing out the truth, despite the great risk to his life. Ong may be arrested after the holiday weekend, as he claims the government will do on Tuesday. Despite this he said he will wait for his arrest in the seminary. Calls for impeachment, and/or resignation of Arroyo and other politicians lessened as some protesters asserted that the politicians did not win the elections at all. Protesters demanded that they simply step down and give way to an interim government.

Later in the day, another set of audio evidence spread. A three audio CD set also may incriminate Arroyo. Reports say that the third CD also shows a conversation between Arroyo and Garcillano, similar to the Ong tapes. According to sources, the third CD records Arroyo and Garcillano talking about their plans regarding the 2004 election, and Arroyo orders Garcillano to give Arroyo a lead of one million votes over the competition. The contents of the third CD are still to be verified. Transcripts of the Ong tapes and other CDs have spread in limited quantities.

That night, Arroyo hosted the traditional reception celebrating the 107th Independence Day from the Spanish, to be held in June 12. In a speech, Arroyo described what was going on as "extreme madness". She asserted that the people should worry about issues like poverty and infrastructure, rather than the crisis. The members from the diplomatic corp, and mayors and governors and other leaders from all around the country attended. A representative for the mayors and governors gave a speech as a sign of solidarity with Arroyo. Other political and religious leaders from around the country expressed solidarity with the president.

Sunday, June 12

On June 12, the country celebrated independence day. Philippine police tighten security around the seminary. Protesters who held vigil in the seminary, and in other areas, dwindled as people paid their respects to the day of independence. Protest activity overall was minimal, compared to the two previous days. Police announced that there were no problems regarding peace and order. Arroyo in later speeches during independence day ceremonies labelled events of the past few days as "dirty politics". Ong sympathizers demanded that Arroyo stop the rhetoric and just answer directly the accusations supported by the Ong tapes and other related CDs. Copies of tapes, CDs, and written transcripts spread further throughout the day. Protesters vowed to begin protests again after the holiday weekend (includes Monday which is a state holiday), and to renew again the call for the ouster of politicians. Other more organized groups called for the Supreme Court's withdrawal of the results of the 2004 elections.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a warning on the country's radio and TV networks, regarding the coverage of the crisis. The NTC claimed that it will close any network that airs the contents of the Ong tapes, because of the anti-wiretapping law. Media pundits countered that that act is a violation of press freedoms and the NTC can't shutdown a network unless there is contention in the appropriate forum first. Protesters also contended that the contents of the Ong tapes should be broadcast to the general public as soon as possible. The same demanded that since the alleged crime is against the Philippine electorate, the people have the right to know, and should be the first to know, what was in the Arroyo's conversation that allegedly proves poll fraud. Until the announcement, only a few were able to broadcast the contents of the tape. Listeners who heard excerpts of the Ong tapes, through the radio, are few. Contents of Ong tapes spread, through different forms of media like written transcripts which circulated.

Monday, June 13

On June 13, the official position of the government held on to the stand that the evidences are fake, and Arroyo did not commit electoral fraud. Copies of tapes, CDs, and written transcripts spread.

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) challenged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) regarding warning of a possible forced closure of networks that air the contents of the tapes that involve the conversations of President Arroyo. A lawyer linked to Samuel Ong warned that if authorities file criminal charges against Ong, this act would be an admission that the tapes are authentic and an admission that the tapes indeed involve Arroyo. Anti-wiretapping law no longer prevents the people from listening to copies of the tape since the government denies its authenticity.

Tuesday, June 14

On June 14, The KBP attacked the NTC by calling their warning as "an attack on press freedom." The spread of tapes, CDs, written transcripts are accompanied by the spread of computer files (.doc, and .mp3) versions of the Ong recordings over the Internet. Authorities later released their own government endorsed copies over the Internet, and called the Ong recordings, already widespread, as "manipulated". Ong sympathizers countered by calling the act a last ditch attempt by the government to save itself. Sympathizers said that since the government can't control the spread of the Ong recordings, authorities just tried to confuse the electorate with their own fake recordings.

Foreign experts reportedly confirmed that the Ong recordings do indeed have the voices of Arroyo and Garcillano. This was confirmed by New Jersey based Voice Identification Inc. Arroyo has yet to respond. With the tape itself authenticated, and the voices therein confirmed, Ong sympathizers began a fresh wave of protests calling for the legal ouster of politicians. They called for the Supreme Court to declare the 2004 elections null and void. They also supported the creation of interim government, new elections, all to be followed by a new legitimate government. Arroyo stood by her claim of innocence.

Friday, June 17

On June 17, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the Arroyo administration for attempting to restrict the airing of the Ong recordings. Christopher Warren, IFJ president said that, "Threatening journalists and media organizations is an unacceptable practice in a democracy; the [Arroyo] administration needs to be more transparent in its dealings with election officials."

Authorities instead allowed the country's media to play a government endorsed recording which they claim to be the original. The government tapes portray a conversation of Arroyo and a man named Gary, rather than Garci (nickname of Garcillano). The Ong recordings though have already been verified (both tape and content) by two neutral parties. Also, the courts have not yet had a say on the matter.

Saturday, June 18

On June 18, the KBP announced that the Ong recordings may now be aired to the general public, until it is proven to be an illegal wiretap by the Arroyo administration. Both the Ong recordings and the government endorsed recordings were broadcast on mass media channels.

Sunday, June 19

On June 19, Virgilio Garcillano was reportedly seen in Zamboanga City, preparing to go abroad. Copies of both recordings spread further everywhere through almost every possible means of mass media. A significant number of the country's electorate were already able to access the recordings. Names of many other election candidates and other politicians are reportedly mentioned in the recordings.

Procedures that are already in place could help end the issue of electoral fraud allegations on Arroyo, Garcillano and any other related party. Everyday life for most citizens moved back to normal, though the crisis is still ongoing. Members of Congress reportedly were interested in starting hearings about the crisis.

Monday, June 27

On June 27, a day before the burial of the former Archbishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin, President Arroyo addressed the country with a television broadcast. She admitted that it was indeed her voice on the tape. She explained that she was just asking for a count in Mindanao, the southern island. Her admission was followed by an apology addressed to the people stating that she made a "lapse in judgement" in communicating with an electoral commission official during the election. Lawyer Oliver Lozano filed an impeachment case against Arroyo on the grounds of her alleged betrayal of public trust. Representative Prospero Pichay was confident that no congressman would endorse the impeachment case, however a party list representative had indeed endorsed it. The largest opposition group did not support impeachment because they believed that it was part of the political maneuvering of the administration. Former president and opposition leader Estrada said that Arroyo could not be impeached because impeachment is made on a legitimate president which, according to him, she was "not". Template:Wikisourcepar

Wednesday, June 29

On June 29, Roilo Golez, a representative in Congress, has resigned from Arroyo's own political party. Arroyo's coalition ally and senate president, Franklin Drilon demanded Arroyo to restore the electorate's confidence in her, if she could prove her innocence. Susan Roces, widow of an opposition leader, rejected Arroyo's public apology, as she claimed that Arroyo stole the presidency "not once, but twice". Cabinet leaders, as well as other appointees, declared that they will stand together with Arroyo, amidst reports that Arroyo intends to fire some of her appointees. The Congressional inquiry on the electoral fraud allegations continued with some deadlock.

July 2005

Friday, July 1

On July 1, heavy protests began anew with thousands on the streets. Protests were held in several areas around the country, most especially in Manila and its suburban areas. Protesters requested for foreign aid from the international community, to run new elections. Influential Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales said, "Genuine forgiveness demands more than an apology, and those who seek forgiveness should be ready to be called to accountability." It was also reported that the Congressional inquiry may play the complete Ong recording on its next hearing.

Monday, July 4

On July 4, the country celebrated Filipino-American Friendship Day. Protesters called for Arroyo's resignation. Numerous universities expressed their desire for Arroyo to resign. These included some members of their faculty and their administration as well. The President will be replaced by vice-president Noli de Castro, if she would choose to resign. Social Weather Stations (SWS), an independent opinion poll, admitted to hastily releasing exit poll results during the questioned elections.

Wednesday, July 6

On July 6, Prime Minister Marek Belka of Poland made a state visit to the Philippines. Garcillano broke his long silence with the issue and responded. According to him, he and the President did not talk about cheating during the 2004 elections, and did not manufacture the so-called "one million" votes for Arroyo. Garcillano also compared his discussion with Arroyo with other numerous candidates who also called him. These included candidates Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Jamby Madrigal, and Mar Roxas. Roxas, now a senator, denied this and said that he just exchanged greetings Garcillano. Vidal Doble, a military intelligence agent, has also been investigated in Congress. Senator Francisco Tatad also said that he is the source of the audio tapes possessed by Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye.

The President’s husband, Juan Miguel Arroyo, left for San Francisco, for voluntary exile to help ease political tensions fueled by the jueteng and wiretapping allegations.

Thursday, July 7

On July 7, Arroyo rejected calls for her resignation in a public radio address. She asked though for the resignation of her entire cabinet, so that she may have a "free hand to reorganize". She also mentioned that she would address the issue of change in constitution in general. The Philippines is currently under the 1987 constitution. Ramos suggested that the constitution should be changed. He even set up a time frame from August to February to have the constitution changed. Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines (CEAP) expressed their support to the impeachment case filed against President Arroyo.

Friday, July 8

On July 8, a group of ten appointed government officials, seven in cabinet level, requested for Arroyo's own resignation, after filing their own resignations. This group was led by Cesar Purisima from the Finance Department. However, a group of cabinet members lead by Eduardo Ermita, together with the city mayors and House Speaker Jose de Venecia, made a press conference in the Malacañang Palace to express their support to the President. Foreign secretary Alberto Romulo said that the Diplomatic community expresses their support to the present leadership of Arroyo. De Venecia expressed his intent to change the constitution. Later in the day, the Liberal Party, a former staunch Arroyo ally, echoed the resignation requests as well. The influential Makati Business Club, and former president Corazon Aquino did the same. Protests continued. Arroyo affirmed her rejection of resignation as a means of solving the issue. LAKAS-CMD, under the leadership of President Fidel V. Ramos and De Venecia, and Kampi parties, Arroyo's coalition allies, agreed the same.

Saturday, July 9

On July 9, a press conference again was held by the loyal cabinet members of President Arroyo together with administration congressmen to answer the accusations that was thrown by the party of Purisima. They also confirmed their support with the present administration and said that Arroyo is doing her job as usual. They also denied the rumors of her possible escape from Manila to Cebu to escape trouble. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is convening to decide their stand in this issue. Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen said that almost 90% of the Bishops wants Gloria to resign. Lito Atienza, chairman of the Liberals, was disappointed that not all Liberal Party members were included in the consultation meeting to decide whether to support the President or not. Arroyo confirmed that she will not resign to her office. Local government leaders said that the resignation clamor of in Manila did not represent the provinces and the entire nation. Protesters replied the contrary.

Sunday, July 10

On July 10, the CBCP had their stand that they will not appeal for the resignation of Arroyo. However, they said that there should be an independent "Truth Commission" to investigate Arroyo. They will not support of any kinds of revolutionary government.

Arroyo together with her family celebrated mass and went to Baywalk to celebrate their family day. Arroyo praised the decision of CBCP of neutrality. Various groups together with Fr. Robert Reyes condemned the CBCP for their neutrality of the issue.

Tuesday, July 12

Seventeen of the country’s political parties and party-list groups vowed to push for Cha-cha (Charter change) and a complete overhaul of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as the proper and correct starting point to re-establish the harmony and stability of the nation. De Venecia lead a meeting of politicians that agreed to oppose coups, rebellions, insurrections, subversions, or any form of violence as solutions to the political problems of the country. The statement was signed by many administration leaders, opposition leaders, as well as the non-affiliated.

Wednesday, July 13

On July 13, 30,000 reportedly protested in Makati. Sheila Coronel of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism released an article that allegedly may verify Arroyo and Comelec electoral fraud as well as Namfrel involvement. See article. Rep. Allan Peter Cayetano released another wiretapped conversation of allegedly featuring President Arroyo and Commissioner Garcillano. The conversation had the "dagdag... dagdag" statement said by the woman. Malacañang, however said that the conversation is tampered.

Thursday, July 14

Drilon mentioned that Arroyo's planned constitutional changes would be "dead in the water" if it would be brought to the senate. "We are against any amendment to the Constitution. The solution to the current problem does not lie in the present Constitution," said Drilon as he advocated for electoral system reforms. Administration officials in the lower house of Congress were reportedly planning a rally in Saturday.

Luis "Chavit" Singson, the Governor of Ilocos Sur and Arroyo ally, released an alleged wiretapped conversation entitled "The X Tapes" (spoofed from "The X Files") that allegedly portrays opposition leader Estrada talking about cheating in elections and the possible assassination of "pandak" and "tanda", codenames allegedly of Arroyo and Ramos. Allegedly also, he said that former presidential candidate Lacson approved of the plan. Both Lacson and Estrada countered by saying that the audio is a government fake and has not been verified, using allegedly the same "confusion tactics" on the public that was allegedly done with the "manipulated" version of the Ong recordings. Singson already has been a main witness and a provider of evidence against opposition leaders before. Estrada's plunder trial, and impeachment trial were based on his evidence. If proven to be true, the tape may condemn the mentioned opposition leaders.

Friday, July 15

Liberals Manuel Mamba and Florencio Vargas accused the administration for attempting to buy votes from the opposition and the newly independent Liberals, who recently bolted off Arroyo's coalition. Opposition Rolex Suplico and Ronaldo Zamora claimed that they received "tempting offers". See Liberal article on buyout

Saturday, July 16

Pro-Gloria rallyists went to Quirino Grandstand to express their support to the President. Although the President didn't come, Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye said that the President Arroyo is happy and glad that the people still support her.

Tuesday, July 19

Arroyo agrees to the creation of a "Truth Commission", composed of non-partisan and non-government leaders, for the investigation on electoral fraud. Administration leaders affirmed her for her actions. Ong sympathizers called this as "delaying tactics" since this would just add more bureaucracy in an already heavily redtaped government. They also said that there are already swift measures to pursue alleged criminals of electoral fraud. However, the "Truth Commission" is supported by the heavily influential Catholic Church and its leaders.

Wednesday, July 20

Liwayway Chato, Samuel Ong's legal counsel complained in an interview that the government officials rarely gave the Ong sympathizers permits for holding peaceful protests. The well-organized pro-administration ralliers, on the other hand, were provided with not only permits, but funding, logistics, networking, and transportation as well. Ong sympathizers suggested that these things were done by the government to manipulate the public opinion. Former senator and Arroyo ally John Osmena accused Arroyo of padding votes in areas such as Cebu, Pampanga, and Tarlac. He also mentioned that the number of votes in Tawi-Tawi actually exceeded the number of official registered voters. He also said, "Kung papakinggan n'yo 'yung tape, nagrereklamo si Garci na 'yung mga taong assigned sa Tawi-Tawi ay Hindi marunong [mandaya] (If you will listen to the tape, you will hear Garci complaining that the people who were assigned in Tawi-Tawi don't know how to cheat)" Arroyo's administration allies in the areas questioned strongly denied these accusations by asking the former senator to prove his claim. They countered also by saying that Cebu Archbishop Vidal certified that the election there was orderly.

Monday, July 25

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivered her yearly State of the Nation Address, in which she advocated for institutional reforms. Earlier in the day, the main opposition filed for Arroyo's impeachment, with revisions from the previous impeachment charges.

Wednesday, July 27

Two independent sources confirmed that Virgilio Garcillano took a flight from Subic last July 14, to Singapore, contrary to denials by Philippine authorities. He spent a night in Singapore, and then flew for London.

August 2005

Friday, August 12

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Michael Defensor came out lashing at the political opponents of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, armed with his own commissioned authentication of the Paguia tape (so called as it was released by Alan Paguia, former lawyer of ousted president Joseph Estrada), alleging that they were spliced so as to incriminate the president to charges of rigging the elections in her favor. Defensor cited the analysis done by a renowned American forensic sound expert, Barry Dickey, on the materials — two tracks of audio recordings from the Paguia tape — he submitted which was based on the audio examination done by Jonathan Tiongco. Defensor, who has contracted Tiongco with the help of a friend in the media for his “technical expertise,” described him as a “veteran audio/voice technician steeped in the process of sound and voice recording.”

Dickey’s findings were also only categorical as far as the track involving the time code 00:00:33.00 to 00:00:35.00 is concerned, which is associated with a male speech, as being "inconsistent with the rest of the recording." Anomalies associated with the track referring to the part where “yung dagdag” is mentioned (time code 00:00:29.00 to 00:00:36.00), he said, will require further analysis.

Saturday August 13

Sound engineer Jim Sarthou says he did not know he was going to be part of the Friday press conference to verify the anomalies found by an American expert in the "Hello Garci" tapes. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. urges the Senate investigating panels to summon Pampanga provincial board member Lilia Pineda and suspected gambling lord Rodolfo "Bong" Pineda before they terminate the inquiry into the jueteng scandal. Sound engineer Jim Sarthou says he distinctively heard the word "dagdag" in the "Hello Garci" tapes that Environment Secretary Michael Defensor said were fake during a press conference Friday.

Friday, August 19

Audio expert Jim Sarthou says the "dagdag" part of a track in the controversial "Hello Garci" tapes was not spliced, according to his findings. Sarthou, in an interview with ANC, says he analyzed six versions of the recordings he downloaded all from website of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). He says he analyzed the track which contains the word "dagdag" and found no anomalies in all of the versions, contrary to earlier claims by Environment Secretary Michael Defensor that it was spliced.

Sunday, August 21

The Black and White Movement is officially founded, and is a member organization of the bigger multisectoral Alliance for the Truth, also launched. These groups were formed for the purpose of peacefully ridding the government of cheating politicians permanently. Members of the movement support either resignation, impeachment or ouster of Arroyo and other politicians guilty of cheating in elections.

Sunday, August 28

The National Democratic Front, a left leaning coalition that includes socialists, has expressed desire to finally reconcile with the established government, after 35 years of political and military conflict. According to reports, the peace treaty will only be supported by the NDF under conditions that the NDF be integrated in government, as well as the current government be cleaned up of officials who are involved in electoral fraud and corruption.

Tuesday, August 30

The House of Representatives had impeachment proceedings, as a leader of the administration representatives hinted last week that the impeachment will be "killed". Fresh waves of protests begin anew earlier in the morning as calls for putting Arroyo to trial is reaffirmed in order to find out the truth regarding electoral fraud. Eventually, after some deadlock, the regular session of the House was suspended, preventing a witness, a former cabinet official, from uncovering an alleged conspiracy by administration leaders. Impeachment supporters protested, but a vote to adjourn the session continued, and the "ayes" won. The impeachment supporters subsequently walked out. Arroyo's administration allies form the majority of the House.

September 2005

Friday, September 2

An interfaith prayer gathering began that night as all the various pro-impeachment groups united, including former president Corazon Aquino, former vice president Teofisto Guingona, and political neophyte Susan Roces, various elected officials, as well as other leaders. Student groups and the youth mobilized earlier to support the "search for the truth" in the black and white movement. Constituents appealed to their representatives to support the impeachment complaint in order to find the truth through a senate trial regarding electoral fraud, among other alleged crimes, conducted by Arroyo and her allies.

Monday, September 5

Alipio Fernandez, commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, and Nilo Hatico, chief of the Air Transportation Office, are being requested by some officials to resign or be removed due to the escape of Virgilio Garcillano abroad. Fernandez and Hatico responded by saying that they were not given the order to aid in the capture of the possible witness. Protests continued.

The lower house of Congress gave the pro-impeachment bloc, consisting of mostly both young minority and young majority leaders, the long delayed opportunity to actually prove their case. Pro-impeachment leaders were able to present significant evidence on Arroyo's alleged electoral fraud, and other alleged crimes, and provided many other details. Such details include how the crimes were conducted. Although electoral fraud was allegedly conducted in a national level, there were a few key areas where cheating was done, allegedly. These areas were already known to be dominated by Arroyo supporters, but her margin of victory in those places were to be appear bigger than it actually is. This alleged technique was used to make Arroyo's victory all the more believable, to prevent any electoral complaints. Other related techniques, allegedly, were kidnapping and harassment of electoral officials and their families. Also shown through evidence was the alleged coverup and conspiracy of Arroyo and administration leaders despite overwhelming evidence to preserve their respective holds on power and to mislead the electorate on the issue. Compelling was the evidence that Fuentabella, a former speaker and member of the majority, on the spot resigned from one of his committee posts, and signed the amended impeachment complaint, a moral victory for the pro-impeachment bloc. However, administration leaders still held a strong majority and could still "kill" impeachment through a vote, and thus, preventing a trial in court.

Tuesday, September 6

A vote in the lower house of Congress on Justice Committee Report 1012 was done in the House of Representatives. The House Plenary session was considered as the longest session in Philippine history. The session started September 5 at 4:00 p.m. and adjourned 3:35 p.m. September 6. That session lasted 23 hours and 35 minutes. Report 1012 recommended that house to cease impeachment proceedings, and thus, preventing a court trial for Arroyo. Pro-impeachment leaders debated in a house plenary that Report 1012 was rushed and was not transparent as a few of the members of the Justice Committee were not present in the process of making the report. However, Arroyo's administration allies, who are in favor of junking impeachment, and agreeing to Report 1012, had the majority of the house. The administration leaders voted "yes" to Report 1012, thus ending the impeachment process, thus preventing its subsequent trial. The pro-impeachment bloc vowed to respond back, either through a case in the Supreme Court or through public protests, since they believe that Arroyo's allies are "suppressing the truth". Administration leaders replied that the minority should just respect the majority and "the rule of law". The evidence as a whole, if used in the court being sought by the minority bloc, may actually convict Arroyo and her accomplices. 158 voted "Yes", 51 voted "No" and 6 abstained.

A significant number of protests are being held around the capital, mostly composed of students and faculty, working professionals, religious groups, civil society groups, people's organizations, urban poor, etc. These are some of the largest protests since the earlier portion of the crisis, although a count of the protesters is still to be confirmed. A prayer rally is being held as well near Congress, led by former president Corazon Aquino, and other leaders. Protesters are urging that Arroyo and her allies, allegedly guilty of electoral fraud and other related crimes, be ousted. Comparisons with a previous revolutions in EDSA are common among the people. Protesters are mostly wearing black and white colors, although mostly white claiming to symbolize "righteousness".

Wednesday, September 7

Protests continued, in various places around the capital, including in EDSA. Some sources mention that the number of protesters have swelled. Protesters are calling for the ouster of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

November 2005

Tuesday, November 22

All house chairpersons who voted in favor to the impeachment complaint was striped from their positions and were replaced by house representatives who belonged to the majority party. Some opposition figures doubted the move as there were rumors that Virgilio Garcillano would reappear.

Friday, November 23

The CCTA (Citizens Congress for Truth and Accountability) completed its sessions last Nov. 9, 15 and 16 on charges of graft and corruption, electoral fraud, human rights violations, and betrayal of public trust against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. An extended session was held last Wednesday to accommodate additional evidence and witnesses.

Making it to the last CCTA session on Nov. 23 at the De La Salle University in Manila was expert witness and audio recording engineer Jaime Sarthou. He presented his comparative study on the different 'Hello Garci' tapes, including Sammy Ong’s “mother of all tapes”, Atty. Alan Paguia’s, Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s, and the two compact discs (CD) presented by Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye, his “original untampered” CD and the “tampered” one.

When asked by the Presidium if he can identify whether Garcillano was the other party PGMA was reportedly talking with on the other end of the line, Sarthou commented, “If (we hear Garcillano speak), we can identify if it’s his voice or not.”

“So he’d better not speak,” Sarthou quipped.

Saturday, November 26

Virgilio Garcillano reappeared

Five months after his disappearance, Virgilio Garcillano appeared on public media to formally explain his side of the story and the reasons why he disappeared from the public. He admitted that he talked to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo about election related issues but denied that he was influenced to change the results of the election. He also accused several opposition figures for attempting to assassinate him. He mentioned that some politicians other than Arroyo called him. He denied that Angelo Zuce was his biological nephew.

Sunday, November 27

Garcilliano's appearance to the media overshadowed public attention from the 2005 Southeast Asian Games. The Philippines was the year's host of the bi-annual event. First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, who returned from the United States on October, felt relieved from Garcillano's statement. Garcillano, in a new TV interview expressed his desire to appear before the congressional inquiry on public information. Former NBI Deputy Director Samuel Ong, through his legal counsel announced that he too would reappear in the public once Garcillano attended the inquiry. The House of Representatives was preparing for the resumption of the inquiry in December.

February 2006

Friday, February 24

See main article

Large protests occurred near EDSA shrine, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of People Power Revolution of 1986, and in demanding change in government. After the government claimed that it blocked a "coup attempt" in the capital, Arroyo declared a "state of emergency", and revoked all rallying permits. The "coup attempt" was made up of only 2 soldiers. Legal analysts state that the president cannot declare "state of emergency" without the concurrence of the two houses of Congress voting separately. On his way to the memorial shrine during a march, prominent sociologist Randy David was arrested, but he was released later that day.

See also

External links

Original Source

Original content from Wikipedia under GNU Free Documentation License. See full disclaimer.