Lakas won’t back Garci

Zubiri, Lakas standard bearer in Bukidnon, is endorsing former Bukidnon provincial board member Candido Pancrudo.

Garcillano, the elections commissioner in the “Hello Garci” controversy involving President Arroyo whose conversations with him in relation to cheating in the 2004 polls were taped, is a resident of Baungon town near Bukidnon's border with Cagayan de Oro City.  

"I will not accept and will never support him because he was involved in the controversy," Malaybalay City-based Central Mindanao Newswatch quoted this week Zubiri, as saying.

Zubiri was quoted to have said Lakas party leaders disowned Garcillano in a meeting in Manila.  

But Garcillano has not filed his certificate of candidacy yet, according to a source in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon where her likely opponent, Mayor Socorro Acosta, is based.

In December Bukidnon board member Alfredo Guden told MindaNews Garcillano had started going around the district. But he said many politicians were cautious in being associated with him for a possible draw back.    

Also in December, there were reports that Garcillano's nephew, Michaelangelo Zuce, who testified against the election commissioner in a Senate hearing on the Hello Garci tapes, will run against Garcillano.

Complaints against Garcillano at the Department of Justice for perjury, violation of the passport act of 1996 and the falsification of public documents were dismissed on November 12, according to State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño.

But Zuño said Garcillano is not yet off the hook in the alleged cheating that took place in the May 2004 elections.

Zuño told Manila-based reporters in December that the cases against Garcillano that had been dismissed by a panel of prosecutors led by State Prosecutor George Yarte and Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Anthony Fadullon did not include his alleged role in the reported massive cheating in the 2004 presidential elections. The complaints were filed by 20 lawmakers led by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

If Garcillano runs, he will go against Acosta, who will be staging a comeback as her son, Rep. Nereus Acosta, is on his third and last term in office.

The Zubiris and the Acostas are political rivals, although they have never run against each other. The Zubiris are from the sugarcane-rich third district in southern Bukidnon.

Bukidnon 3rd district Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri, who is on his last term and is eyeing a senate seat, proposed the creation of Bukidnon del Sur, a move Acosta opposed. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)