Be Not Afraid!

Speech delivered at The Manila Hotel

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” She has learned her lesson well. She has mastered the art and science of assuming the presidency without winning the elections. She does her role model proud. I hope she does not forget that her role model ended up being hanged by those he oppressed.

Fascists believe that through the use of state terror, propaganda and the intimidation of political rivals, you can disassemble the existing democratic government system.

We have seen Mrs. Arroyo toy around with this belief since her voice on a taped phone conversation became the country’s outrage, and her nightmare. 

We have seen and heard Secretary Raul Gonzalez ranting and threatening to arrest anyone who is in possession of the taped conversation. Even ringtones are now against the law! This coming from a two-bit lawyer suspended once by the Supreme Court.

Then there’s non-lawyer NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco, shamelessly lending his agency to the propaganda machine of Mrs. Arroyo. Like a Gestapo, he blindly attacks and discredits all those who dare talk of the voices of “Ma’am” and “Garci”, and most recently, even raiding printing presses in utter disregard of the existence of freedom of speech. Or has that also been stolen?

Police agents are on the prowl abducting persons who they think are problematic for the Arroyo regime. (Udong) Mahusay talaga. How are we supposed to respond to this? Does Mrs. Arroyo and her lackeys actually expect us to run and hide, and cower in fear at the mention of her name?

Does she actually think she can get away with her continued silence while her attack dogs, using government funds, pounce on those who demand for the truth? Ano ‘to? Nagnakaw na, tatakutin pa tayo?

There is only one issue. There is only one question. There is only one answer.

There is only one issue. How massive was the cheating in the election of 2004?

There is only one question. How involved was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the cheating process?

There is only one answer. Ms. Susan Roces said it loud and clear: “Nagkaroon ba ng dayaan noong halalan? MERON!”

The President’s spokesman provided the “smoking tape”.

Mr. Bunye was very clear. The tape contained “privileged conversation between the President” and somebody.

Mr. Bunye was very precise. It was “the President”, he said. Where the lie and the truth differ is who the president was talking to. Mr. Bunye claimed it was a “political leader”.

But almost everybody else in the country knows Mrs. Arroyo was talking to Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

To hear is to believe. God, in His infinite wisdom, gave Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a memorable and distinctive voice for a reason: so she cannot escape the truth.

It turns out, Mr. Bunye has indecisive ears. Two days after he made the tapes public, Spokesperson Bunye was forced to retract his statement confirming it was the president on the tape. Poor Mr. Bunye. He was practically disowned by his Palace colleagues. For making the mistake of telling the truth? The retraction signaled the start of Malacañang’s blitz to deceive and confuse the people.

Let’s not play deaf to the truth. I have hard enough press conferences, enough speeches, enough SONAs from Mrs. Arroyo to make a conclusion: The voice caught on tape giving instructions to “Garci” Garcilliano to doctor the elections is, unquestionably, indisputably, undeniably, obviously, doubtlessly, clearly and definitely Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. “Tiyak ‘yun”.

In fact, the silence of the president-who-never-was is further proof of her guilt. “Admission by silence” is one of the most devastating under the rules of evidence.

Three questions, when answered will rest the case of the People of the Philippines versus Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

• Can we validate my conclusion, and that of millions of Filipinos, that THE voice on the tape is that of Mrs. Arroyo?
• Can we verify if what Mrs. Arroyo wanted on tape was accomplished in the end?
• Do we have documentary evidence to prove there indeed was massive cheating?

When I first heard the tape, the first thing I thought I should do was to be an “amicus curiae” and have the tape authenticated. With the help of some friends, I did just that. I collected three CDs to start the move to authenticate the tape.

• Two were from Malacañang, the same CDs that Spokesperson Bunye gave to the press.
• The third was a reproduction of the original CD.

I also submitted voice clips of Mrs. Arroyo, Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano, Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo and Senator Robert Barbers, as well as Bong Ruado, the chief of staff of Iggy Arroyo, who claimed ownership of the voice talking to Mrs. Arroyo, to serve as standards or basis for comparison and authentication.

The CDs were sent to UniQuest Pty Limited at the University of Queensland in Australia. This is a very reputable and unassailable group. The police forces of Hong Kong and Australia use this company for voice identification-recording analysis. Don’t even bother to compare them with the NBI. It’s like comparing CSI with the Keystone cops.

I have not yet received the full report. But, the initial one I got clearly establishes: “there is no evidence that would suggest that the conversations have been altered in any way from their original recorded form”.

In other words, one fact has been established: The conversations on the original tape, copies of which you now hold, and which will be distributed after the forum, happened as recorded. No splicing. No alterations. No adulteration. The conversations took place as recorded.

The only question to be answered is, whose voices were those? More specifically, are those the voices of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and “Garci” Garcillano talking to each other? I will have the complete voice identification report any time soon.

We heard all those orders being barked at Garci. The next question is: Did they, “Garci”and “Hello Garci”, succeed in thwarting the will of the people?

The results of the elections in Cebu also reveal some interesting but rather unusual findings.

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo attributes her victory to Cebu’s delivery of votes. Indeed the votes were delivered…special delivery! The national turnout of voters was 65 per cent, according to the Comelec. But not Cebu. Cebu had an unusually high turnout of 84 per cent, on a stormy and rainy day…

All the six districts of Cebu showed an 80-to-10 ratio in favor of Mrs. Arroyo vs. FPJ. A ratio higher than in her own home province of Pampanga.

When documents of massive cheating in Cebu and other parts of the country were brought to the attention of the administration-controlled Congress, you remember how her lapdogs ruled: Noted. Noted.

Then Congressman Gonzalez even went to the extent of proclaiming “it was a clean election, no massive cheating and no ‘dagdag-bawas’.” Alarm bells must have rung when he said that. The conventional wisdom is when Gonzalez says something, you better believe the opposite of whatever he says.

In fact, Mr. Gonzalez and company successfully prevented the request of the opposition to open the Election Returns (ER) and check the authenticity of the votes therein. Why were they afraid to open up the ERs? Flashback and recall that the Commission on Elections ordered the printing of extra copies of Election Returns for the May 2004 elections.

More than thirty thousand (30,000) forms were ordered from private printers which the Comelec refused to identify. Curiously again, most of these particular Election Returns found their way into supposedly Arroyo territories like Cebu, Iloilo, Pampanga, Las Piñas and others.

The Election Returns hide a thousand secrets. Thousands and thousands of election secrets. Candidates usually focus their attention on the Certificate of Canvass or COC. But somebody figured out that if we tamper with the COCs, it might be easy to detect such changes. So, why not begin with the “manufacturing” of the ERs? Imagine having access to 30,000 forms of Election Returns. That can easily translate into as many as 6 million votes!

Examining these Election Returns closely, you will discover that the Gonzalezes and Pangilinans of Congress worked hard to dismiss the opening of the ERs, stonewalling the pleas with their Noted…Noted.

And so, let’s take note. This is an example of the ER forms ordered by the Comelec from private printers. Please note these forms are supposed to be accountable forms. This particular ER is from Precinct no. 309, San Fernando Pampanga.

As an accountable form, you will note that while the page numbers are printed, the numbers are not. Why? Elementary. So the Arroyo operators can pre-fabricate page 1. Election Returns come in 6 copies. Page 1 is where the presidential listing is found. Imagine if you had in your hands thousands of copies of Page 1.

Months before the elections, the Arroyo operators were already working and filling up thousands upon thousands of the Election Returns. They were deciding for us, the people, who the next president would be. When the official ERs finally came, all they had to do was remove page one (1) and substitute their pre-fabricated page one (1), complete with the matching, stamped serial number.

This innocent box for the thumb mark when subjected to a magnifying glass will reveal the name of the printer. In this particular case, it is the Ernest Printing Corporation.

There’s an added insult to the injury. After summing up the votes for each candidate, thumb marks should be affixed.

Afflicted with arrogance, the Arroyo operators did not even bother to hide their criminal activities. Observe the thumb marks.

This pre-fabricated ER from Floridablanca shows thumb marks that make you wonder whether they used babies or kittens to make the marks.

Compared to the original ER from San Juan, anybody can observe the big difference.

Next, observe the incredible. Look at the close up of the election returns from Floridablanca, Pampanga. Note how orderly the “taras” are written. When done by somebody in the comforts of an air-conditioned room this can be done.

But inside a hot, busy precinct at midnight with tired sleepy teachers?

Even more incredible, in Las Piñas, about 80 kilometers away, another person doing the “taras” has the same “penmanship” as the person in Floridablanca, Pampanga!

Is that possible, Congressman Ronaldo Puno?

Under the law, the Comelec should make an accounting of these forms. How and where were they distributed? How many are left? Where are they?

So, if the Election Returns were prepared in advance to ensure the victory of Mrs. Arroyo, why did she have to make all those calls to Garci after the elections? The unexpected happened. An avalanche of votes for the opposition came from the North and the Tagalog speaking provinces as well as the National Capital Region. Garci to the rescue!

Between the tapes and the fraudulent election returns, the nation can now understand why GMA’s allies did everything to thwart efforts to expose the plot and conspiracy during the national canvassing.

Clearly, the voices in the tapes were those of Mrs. Arroyo and Commissioner Garcillano. Ask the man the on the street who listened to the tape, he will tell you without a voice expert’s aid that the voice is that of GMA.

Now we know that the highest officials of the land, the Comelec, and government personnel mandated to protect the integrity of the electoral process, including some ambition-driven members of the AFP, the PNP, were involved in the conspiracy and corruption.

But worse, even NAMFREL, the citizens’ last bastion of defense and hope for honest elections, is caught in the web.

Let me call on all those who may have been pressured by higher officials to join them in the cheating conspiracy, to come out and tell the truth. Be not afraid. And let the truth set you free.

If we turn a blind eye to this gravest of sins, we might as well give Mrs. Arroyo a blank check to continue the theft of whatever else rightly belongs to us, the people. If we continue to simply shrug our shoulders and go on with business as usual, then we cease to have the right to complain about corruption or to demand that our public servants stop stealing.

The time for passivity and indifference is over. Truth cannot be hid forever by the silence of one person, even if that person is the highest official of the land. And every citizen of this benighted republic has the right, nay the duty, to ferret out the truth, to demand the truth, to uphold the truth.

BE NOT AFRAID.

John Paul II of saintly memory, uttered this observation: “An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded”. All that we’ve been hearing thus far are legal excuses foisted upon the people in order to guard a lie, in order to protect leadership founded upon a lie.

How can decent men and women allow this? As a first step, in order to spread the truth that has been hidden and distorted by this unauthorized government, we are setting up Be-Not-Afraid Centers in key areas. These will be the places where people can freely get their copies of the CDs that the government does not want us to hear.

Let every Filipino be well informed in his quest for the truth. BE NOT AFRAID. The truth shall set us free.

And to Mrs. Arroyo, speaking for the Filipino people, whom you and I have sworn to serve, whose interest you and I have sworn to uphold at all times, over and above self and family, a final advice: Break your silence. Not at some self-appointed time. But now.

Not when your spin-masters and propagandists say the worst has blown over, but now.

Now, before every man, woman and child in this long-suffering country conclude that their own worst fears are the terrible truth.

Not when they begin charging into the citadels of your power, and sweep away all the institutions of our fragile democracy along with their fury.

*****

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