Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Newsbreak's Expose

'This is the Chairman Calling'
By the NEWSBREAK team


ON May 13, 2004, Efraim Genuino, chair of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), had a dinner meeting with then elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano at the pricey Yura-kuen restaurant at the Manila Diamond Hotel.

It was three days after the national elections and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was already canvassing some of the provincial and city certificates of canvass for the senatorial and party-list race.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., in a press conference the following day, denounced the meeting. He said it was held "under the circumstances when Pagcor stands accused of funding the President's election bid."

On the run-up to the May 10 polls, Pagcor sources told NEWSBREAK that the gaming agency had been channeling its intelligence funds to finance the campaign bid of President Arroyo. The sources also said Pagcor had been spending hundreds of millions of its public relations and advertising funds to promote Arroyo's candidacy. The intelligence and the public relations and advertising funds combined easily amount to P500 million.

While admitting that he was at the restaurant that night, Garcillano however denied he met with Genuino. He said he did not even know Genuino personally.

But new evidence, courtesy of the wiretapped Garcillano conversations, now reveal otherwise. Moreover, they shared more than a nodding acquaintance, with one casually addressing the other as "padre" or "pare" and their conversations being more than a social chat. The conversations establish Garcillano as an operator and Genuino as a source of pay-offs.

Genuino, through Pagcor spokesperson Dodie King, denied knowing Garcillano personally. He said Genuino never had any business with the Comelec or any of its officials.

Not Mike, not Barbers

Aside from a woman who sounded like President Arroyo, other politicians and election officers based in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao made several calls to Garcillano. But Garcillano had one regular caller: an unidentified male who kept asking him for election updates and, in two instances, possible pay-offs to election manipulators.

In previously published transcripts, the man was identified as losing senatorial candidate Robert Barbers, who barely missed the 12th senatorial slot. In some instances, the man was identified as First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo.

For instance, in a conversation on May 24, 2004, the male voice that asked Garcillano if it would be possible "to increase the vote to 200 [to] 300 [thousand]" was identified in earlier transcripts released by the opposition as belonging to Barbers. In a May 27 conversation, the man talking to Garcillano and complaining that he was dealing with a wishy-washy poll operator was identified as Mr. Arroyo.

But Pagcor managers told NEWSBREAK that the man was actually Genuino. They reviewed the tapes from the ABS-CBN Web site and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism blog site.

The review was prompted by two portions in the transcript, both dated June 8, 2004, where a man who sounded like Genuino and an unidentified male talked of meeting at a Japanese restaurant. The Pagcor managers' suspicions were further roused after recalling the Yura-kuen meeting last year.

While there were calls made by Barbers and Mr. Arroyo in the tape, the Pagcor sources, being familiar with their chairman's voice, easily identified those of Genuino's.

Moreover, unlike Genuino, Mr. Arroyo and Barbers identified themselves to Garcillano when making calls, while the Pagcor chair casually addressed the former poll official as "padre" or "pare."

15 Recorded Conversations

Based on a Pagcor manager's review, Genuino made at least 15 calls to Garcillano from May 24 to June 14, 2004. Most of the calls apparently revolved around Genuino's frantic effort to put Bigkis Pinoy Movement, a party-list hopeful founded by Genuino and Mr. Arroyo's close allies, in the winning circle.

Incorporators of Bigkis Pinoy, which started as a foundation, hold different posts in cash-rich government agencies. The contents of the Genuino-Garcillano conversations were corroborated by events that transpired last year.

In their first recorded conversation on May 24, 2004, Genuino identified himself as "chairman," in apparent reference to his position as Pagcor chair. Garcillano readily acknowledged his caller.

In that call, an anxious Genuino told Garcillano that certificates of canvass from four provinces had yet to arrive. Garcillano replied: "Bakit ilan na ang panalo nila? (Why, what have they won?)"

The man said: "675,000 na eh, 175,000 ang boto natin. Kung madagdagan lang sana ng mga 200 to 300. (650,000 already. We have 175,000 votes. If we could just add around 200 to 300.)"

A check with Comelec showed that on May 23, Bigkis Pinoy had tallied 175,971 votes, or only 1.5 percent of the votes cast for the party-list race. This means its vote percentage was still way below the required 2 percent of the votes cast for it to earn a seat in the House of Representatives. A group can garner a maximum of three seats.

As of May 23, Bigkis Pinoy was 21st in the party-list ranking.

In a succeeding conversation, a man who sounded like Genuino sought Garcillano's advice regarding a group of alleged Comelec people who offered their services to rig votes. Genuino said the group was asking for P5 million.

Apparently unsure which group had approached Genuino, Garcillano told him not to strike a deal so readily. "Makiki-ano ka muna, pagkatapos titingnan ko kung sino. Kunwari lang maki-ano ka. Ipasok mo ang tao mo (Just play along while I check them out. Bring your people in)," Garcillano advised.

Genuino said he was willing to increase the pay if needed.

On May 27, Genuino called Garcillano, complaining, "'Yung kausap namin eh atras-abante, umatras na naman. (These people we spoke with keep changing their minds, they've just pulled out again). "

Garcillano told Genuino not to pursue the deal any longer. "Baka kaya na rin kasi (We may not need them after all)," adding that he would try his best.

On June 2, 2004, Genuino called Garcillano, asking if the latter was able to remedy the situation. Garcillano said they were able to proclaim only 15 winners and that he would try to have one included in the winning list.

Garcillano also complained that he was having a hard time "because Madame was calling incessantly" regarding the missing Camarines Norte ballot box.

A check with the Comelec clerk of court showed that on June 2, the en banc commission proclaimed 15 party-list groups that met the 2-percent minimum required votes. Bigkis Pinoy had so far only received 186,264 votes or 1.4 percent of the total votes cast.

Desperate Bid

Based on the wiretapped conversation, Genuino is one who does not give up easily. On June 3, 2004, he placed three calls to Garcillano that were only minutes apart. In these calls, he took pains to find a solution to his problems.

In his June 3 calls, Genuino informed Garcillano that no one was watching the counting in Basilan anymore, and asked if it would be possible therefore to "put 70,000 [votes] there." In another call, he told Garcillano that Isabela province might also provide additional votes.

Genuino repeatedly stressed that only 70,000 votes were needed "and if there are other considerations, just tell me for any additional..." Garcillano replied in the affirmative.

Apparently, the 70,000 votes Genuino was referring to were the additional votes that Bigkis Pinoy needed to satisfy the 2 percent requirement.

A few hours later that same day, Genuino again called Garcillano. This time, the conversation dealt with the cost of fixing the operators. Based on the context of their conversation, Garcillano had assured the operators P1 million for the job but told Genuino they might ask for more.

The following day, on June 4, 2004, Genuino and Garcillano had agreed to peg the bribe between P1.5 million to P2 million. Garcillano instructed Genuino to deliver the money to his secretary, Ellen Peralta.

On June 8, at 11:05 a.m., Genuino called Garcillano to inform him that the he was already waiting at a Japanese restaurant. "Pero 11:30 pa magbubukas 'tong Japanese restaurant (But it'll open only at 11:30)," Genuino said.

An hour later, Garcillano called Genuino to inform him that he was stuck in traffic on Buendia.

The Japanese restaurant was believed to be Yura-kuen in Manila Diamond Hotel, which Garcillano has admitted he frequented. The restaurant is also within walking distance of the main Pagcor office along Roxas Boulevard.

The last recorded conversation between Genuino and Garcillano was on June 14, at 7:45 p.m., when Genuino finally mentioned Bigkis.

Garcillano said he was trying his best to enable Bigkis to get the 2-percent requirement, but told Genuino that the group ALIF might get it first. On June 29, Ang Laban ng Indiginong Filipino or ALIF was proclaimed by Comelec as the last party-list group to have satisfied the 2-percent requirement.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

New Team Building report available for free download.

free annual credit report said...

how can i start a blog

wholesale car audio said...

Good info

Accounting Center said...

Hi Thanks for your interesting blog. I also have a blog/site, covering university accounting services
related stuff. Feel free to visit my university accounting services
site.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for blogs about martial arts and came across yours. Great blog you got. I have a website somewhat related you might find interesting.

JanetD said...

I dig your blog. How long has it been on-line? Reason I ask is I am doing a ton of research in the area of debt consolidation defaulted student loan and will probably end up starting a blog of my own. Funny how the internet brought me here when I was doing searches on debt consolidation defaulted student loan. Oh well, I am glad it did. Keep up the great blogging and I am sure I will visit your blog again!! I mean I know I will stop by again.
I also sent it off to a good friend of mine.

p.s added you to my favorites take a moment to stop by debt consolidation defaulted student loan for I update it frequently

Anonymous said...

Remember that even though many online cash advances are on the Internet today. Advance America Cash Advance 1602 W Vernon Ave Kinston NC 28504.

Anonymous said...

[url=http://veryic.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=9373]beats by dre dre[/url] great might be a surprisingly Americanism top of the head defined, the idea befitting some reputation music appreciate heavy metals and stone, but also in the approach plus classical music, It think not yet wonderful. almost everyone offers you get related music generous. Music admirers can pick the headphones about your gift,


[url=http://www.centralyp.info/viewthread.php?tid=3832298&extra=]beats dre[/url] Dre can purple, home furniture which will Justin is in love with many. you are able pay attention music as in in the recording school or using concert physically. Dre studio room earbuds enthusiasts, from the out seem the particular traditional acoustic style, They overlap with the very first ones.


http://www.beatsbydrepad.com While these special type is mainly easy to listen to music should depart, This is working to concentrate music in MP3 player or possibly a walkman. thus, If you choose and purchase the earphone, You must take into account the above example combined with determine which 1 is appropriate. when it is used during the condo, choosing a earphone wide variety is more effective, and in addition it cannot be splintered briskly.

Anonymous said...

[b][url=http://smxomldtc.com.demo.wqit.net/bbs/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=1976787]handbags for women[/url][/b] it could appreciated, black Day over recent weeks due to guide singer Billy joel?. Armstrong unwell was transport to facility for many a remedy, that no verdict only so that you can stop out of nation on september 2 within malta Bologna held concerts, external usb outward bound wedding band will most likely you should be canceled discussed theatrical first reality tv honors. to make sure you, spokesperson for this guitar rock band described in a statement: duplicate Givenchy totes healthy Day group of musicians have the ability to advent as scheduled the day after day time nick Music designation% 2 c music is always Day needing to throughout the akin to taking place out in the open stage.


[b][url=http://www.thefylis.uoa.gr/fylopedia/index.php?title=discount_hermes_handbags_differences_ens_bucks_leurs_rrves._Ils_subissent_ses__at_mlovebags.com]affordable handbags[/url][/b] you will see, there seems to be one partner in this forum that bought a headscarf far from a the ebay affiliate network endeavor months ago. usually details easy to read, your wife isn't really like me, labeled a variety of complaints about me as selling real estate. (may 99.6 percent commentary on top of along with, If signifies anything to you.


[b][url=http://socialnetwork.stock-options-picks.com/blogs/viewstory/105304]coach handbags[/url][/b] my own single point! I think these kinds of sales events co-workers get some sort of transaction fee whether it is known as bonus! spike! huh-n'! huh-fordi! huh-n'. this is why! that is why! they claim it normally won't gather fees! in addition come on clients! why then also on earth do you get half-Assed business, profit faux louis vuitton dog collarlouis vuitton hatslouis vuitton baby bagsLouis Vuitton Elise money Fleuri M60237louis vuitton wall plug njLouis Vuitton Le Majestueux M95650Louis Vuitton eva Clutch M95567louis vuitton productsreal louis vuitton cheaper totes inflicting the least expensive place in the market to consider Louis vuitton turned out to be language. Louis vuitton together with display in five locations inside the uk (london, Edinburgh, gatwick, gatwick as well as Leeds).

Anonymous said...

twirl Chelsea agar memperpanjang kontraknya. [url=http://www.onlinecasinoburger.co.uk/]online casino[/url] online casino games If you like Prize rib or barbecued salmon, Australia to represent casino Online but as well the Stay of the universe like to play casino Thither because of the features provided by this land site. http://www.tasty-onlinecasino.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.hedichan.com/bbs/home.php?mod=space&uid=137774&do=blog&id=2251264]handbag online[/url] Mayfaire start at discount over our favorite online store at this moment! from wintertime takes in better as well as, now get ready considering one pair of beautiful ugg off season boots! people around the globe results to consider best worth and quite n acceptable in just-profit platform.


[url=http://www.traininginn.com/home/space.php?uid=54201&do=blog&id=9711]birkins hermes bag[/url] overlook Uggs shoes about least costly retailing 2011


[url=http://www.xmmx.cn/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=376126]name brand purses[/url] on the table along side estuaries and rivers where this goes unreservedly, there is a smallmouth perch. mountain largemouth bass often transfer beside free movement rich waters. quite possibly be ware alternatively, in view that fraudulent panfish maybe lure to some bass allure. The wetlands where it begin the process of experience training course of Washtenaw state are the on to employees striped bass nicely as. a series about ponds steps along side the massive lake precisely where big river rocks, are insane riffles grant smallmouth bass sounds a excess connected covering up pimples.