CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/21 July) – Sources close to former election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano said that the controversial personality who may give the final pieces of the election fraud issues in the 2004 and 2007 elections is still in Bukidnon.
A day after the interview of former Maguindanao Election Supervisor Lintang Bedol was aired last week, Garcillano was sought by the media in his retirement home cum farm in Baungon, Bukidnon. But they were told he is not longer there.
TV5 sources said that Garcillano is still in Bukidnon and in fact met with his close friends and aides over the weekend. The same source, however, said that Garci is no longer in his farmhouse in Brgy. Imbatug in Baungon but has moved to another location. He is, however, “still in the foothills of Mt. Kitanglad,” the source said.
At the height of the “Hello Garci” controversy in 2005, Garcillano disappeared and was reportedly spirited out of the country. He surfaced back in December 2006 somewhere in Maguindanao.
He however gave his first media interview after the Hello Garci controversy somewhere in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, where he had been hiding for over a month before surfacing.
Garcillano denied any hand in the rigging of election results that deprived popular actor Fernando Poe Jr. the presidency in favor of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004.
The Hello Garci controversy is one of the unresolved controversies hounding the Arroyo administration. It stemmed from the expose of wiretapped recordings of the conversation allegedly between President Arroyo and the election commissioner, wherein the President gave instructions to Garci to ensure that she will have at least one million votes more than the popular actor.
Garci ran but lost for the congressional seat of the First District of Bukidnon. He has since been low key and keeps himself most of the time in his farm house in Baungon, Bukidnon, about 30 kilometers south of this city. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews)