Defense chief bares bribery of Comelec officials to rig results of May 10 presidential polls

April 29, 2010 7:51 pm 

MANILA, April 29 — Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales on Thursday bared ongoing efforts by at least two presidential candidates to bribe officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to rig the results of the coming presidential and local elections.

Gonzales said he has information that military and police officers are going to be bribed even amidst the pronouncements of the leadership of the military and police establishment that they will be non-partisan in the elections.

Gonzales maintained that the military, under the leadership of Gen. Delfin Bangit, will find ways to frustrate the planned cheating.

“We have experts saying that it can be cheated and I’m telling you now that there will be attempts of cheating the national elections. I’m telling you that the cheating has begun,” said Gonzales.

“I’m telling you that some money are being distributed to some Comelec officials already these days. There will be cheating in the coming elections,” added Gonzales without also naming the election officials.

Gonzales said he was sure that military and police officials will also be offered bribe money to ensure the cheating machinery.

“What really saddens my heart is that there will be attempts, despite all our pronouncements that the AFP and the PNP will be nonpartisan in these elections. It seems to be that this noble effort of our men and women in uniform are not being respected. There will be attempts to bribe our armed forces and police officials. There will be and it has begun,” he said.

He said he was revealing the information because he want to preempt both the bribery and the cheating. He said they are gathering more evidence for the filing of charges before the election day.

He said Southern Tagalog is one of the areas where the bribery is occurring based on his sources, some of them from the Comelec itself. However, he said he has no information as to how much are being offered to the Comelec officials.

“I do not want to preempt it. I have just mentioned it here for the officials to be aware, that as in other elections, cheating has always been active. What I'm trying to emphasize, what I'm trying to say is that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP have been trying their best to make sure that this election is clean. We do not want them to be tempted. For example, some officers will be tempted by bribery. I know that there are plans or attempts to do this already,” he added.

When asked if the camp of the billionaire presidential candidate (Sen. Manny Villar) is among those bribing, Gonzales said: “I think you are guessing it wrong.”

On whether he is a bachelor (Sen. Benigno Aquino III), he said: “Don’t ask that, that's hard (to answer). On whether its Gibo (former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro), he said: “that’s a very hard question.”

Meanwhile, the military said it was confident that its officers will not accept any bribe money and cheat in the elections.

“Our loyalty does not have a price tag, and so is our honor. I am confident that any attempt to bribe AFP officials will remain futile. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is a professional organization that will remain true to its mandate. We will not use our capabilities to advance any political, partisan, or personal interest,” said AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos.

“Our loyalty is to the Constitution, and to the entirety of people in this nation, not to any individual, or a group of them especially when they are working against the principles of democracy,” added Burgos. (PNA)



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