to: Ms. Dale Zapata
OVP PR RE:
The results of the election pertaining to the proclamation of President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo can no longer
be questioned in any forum. The period to file any protest has long expired. The
Supreme Court’s decision that
there is no real party in interest who could institute an election protest
against the election of PGMA
has long become final and executory. Hence, any discussion thereon is
moot and academic.
What is now before us is the election protest of former Senator Loren Legarda against Vice
President Noli De Castro. VP
De Castro vehemently denies Ms.
Legarda’s unfounded and self-serving allegations of fraud and irregularities in the last
election. We challenge Ms.
Legarda to be more specific in her charges instead of making wild and
general allegations of massive
fraud by merely citing the areas without making specific reference to specific
precincts and the exact number
of votes she is contesting.
For instance, Ms. Legarda made a fantastic claim that only one person prepared the
election returns of Pampanga
and Las Piñas. Such accusation is incredible. Unbelievable. It has no basis in law and
in fact. It is an insult to
the Honorable Senator Manny Villar whose wife, Congresswoman Cynthia Villar,
won overwhelmingly as
Representative of Las Piñas City in a clean and honest election using genuine
and authentic returns prepared
by the boards of election
inspectors during the counting and appreciation of ballots in the presence of watchers and representatives of candidates and
In the past
election there were about 5,500 precincts in Pampanga while Las Piñas had
about 900 precincts or a total
of 6,400 precincts. So how could one person prepare and accomplish all these returns?
It is highly incredible that
he could prepare the 5,500 returns of Pampanga and then still have the luxury
of time of traveling more
about 200 kms to Las Piñas City to prepare the latter’s returns.
it is impossible to prepare the returns in advance of the election. This is so
because before the polls no
one knows the exact number of voters who would be actually voting. Hence, you do
not know how many votes to
credit a candidate. Likewise,
the returns for President includes the votes for Vice-President and Senators and Party
List; as well as the returns
for Congressman; Governors,
ViceGovernors, Board Members; Mayors, Vice Mayors and Councilors. How many votes will one
give or credit each candidate
without being detected by the watchers and representatives during the canvass of
these returns? Teachers are always the scapegoats
of losing candidates. Almost
always, most of these poll losers would blame the teachers for alleged
misreading or miscounting and
misappreciation of ballots or
conspiring with their political rivals during the election. This is the reason why most
teachers do not want to serve
The same could be said if Ms. Legarda's unwarranted charges that only one person
prepared the returns of Bohol
and Iloilo. It is impossible how this person could travel from one
province to the other
considering the length of time needed to prepare one election return.
TARAS and thumbmarks: The lack of thumbmarks or uniformity of taras are not sign of
tampering or irregularities.
The lack of thumbmark is mandatory only before election and it is directory
after the election. Lack
of thumbmarks is only a formal defect which does not affect the genuineness and
due execution of
election returns. Ang
iba ay may maliit na thumbmark kasi maliit ang daliri ng mga teachers.
mga teachers, lalo na yong mga dalaga at bagong manicure, dulo lang ng daliri ang
ginagamit at ayaw madumihan
ang daliri at masira ang manicure.
Ms. Legarda also claimed that 32,000 election returns were fabricated in that per return VP De Castro was credited with 70
votes or an additional “2.1
million votes”. Another incredible and fantastic fairy tale of Ms. Legarda.
By making reference to
only two (2) returns, one from Pampanga and one from Cebu, she accused the camp
of VP De Castro of fabricating
returns prepared by only one
emphasize that in the 2004 elections, one set of election returns consisted of 56 sheets. This is so because a
return has to be prepared in
seven (7) copies (one each for the Board of Canvassers; Congress; Comelec;
Majority Party; Minority
Party; NAMFREL; and Ballot Box). Considering the number of
candidates, from President, VP,
Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Vice Governors, Board
Members, Mayors, Vice Mayors and Councilors, and numerous party list candidates, three (3)
pages were allotted for
President, VP, Senators and Party Lists; and five (5) pages were allotted for
candidates for Congress and
local government units, or a total of eight pages, each page with seven (7)
copies each, or a total of 56
sheets comprising once election returns.
would take an average of ten (10) minutes if one has to manufacture all the entries in
one complete election returns,
complete with signatures initials and thumb marks to make a semblance of an
authentic return. Since
Ms. Legarda claims that at least 32,000 returns were allegedly fabricated with
only one person making it,
such person needs 320,000 minutes or 5,333 hours or 222 days or almost a year to
finish fabricating 32,000
returns. And this fabrication cannot be made BEFORE election because he
has to determine first how
many voters actually voted and how many votes he has to credit a candidate
to insure the victory of his
principal. Kaya, matagal nang tapos ang election patuloy pa rin siyang
gumagawa ng returns.
demonstrates the incredibility and impossibility of Ms. Legarda’s claim that
one person fabricated 32,000
returns in favor of Mr. De Castro and the President.
We also find Ms. Legarda’s accusation of missing ballot boxes containing election returns
stored in the House of
Representatives as uncalled for and an insult to the integrity of the House of
Representatives. The delivery
of election returns from the various provinces, cities of municipalities to
Congress is always undertaken
with proper notices to all the
parties who are allowed to escort or send their respective representatives to witness the
said delivery of election
returns. We never heard of any
complaint from Ms. Legarda or her political party when these returns were delivered to Congress.
We never heard Ms. Legarda
present any document to prove her claim that there were 200 ballot boxes
containing the returns of the
provinces subject of her protest, except her claim that there were only 53
ballot boxes retrieved from
the House of Representatives. The best evidence to prove any missing returns is
to show the actual receipts
issued by Congress when such returns were delivered to the latter. But no such
receipt has so far been
presented by Ms. Legarda except by immediately jumping into conclusion that
there were “missing ballot
boxes” and asking “where have all the ballot boxes gone?”
Ms. Legarda is assailing 9,007 returns from five (5) provinces (Sulu, Sultan Kudarat,
Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte
and Tawi-Tawi) and nine (9)
municipalities; and 124,404 precincts from 44 provinces consisting of about 20 million
ballots to be revised and
reviewed by the PET. Mr. De Castro won with 15,100,431 over Legarda’s 14,218,709
votes or a vote-lead of
881,722 for De Castro.
ATTY. ROMULO B.
Lawyer of PGMA and
VP Noli De Castro/10-3-05/
Office of the Vice President (OVP)
Management Information Services
Division (MISD). All rights reserved.