WHEN Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivers her eighth State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa session hall today, she will be standing close to where, three years ago, police commandos say they replaced genuine election returns (ERs) with fake ones in ballot boxes that were being readied for a recount of the 2004 presidential election.
The ER switching at the Batasan had been talked about and reported on since 2005, when Arroyo apologized to the nation for talking to an election official while the votes were being counted, in what has since been known as the “Hello, Garci” scandal.
Recently, some of those who took part in that clandestine operation have sought legal refuge, executing affidavits and taped testimonies of their involvement. Others told friends in confidence, while a few boasted about it in drinking sessions.
They said they switched the ERs of several provinces on three occasions to reconcile these with the figures in the certificates of canvass (COCs) and statements of votes (SOVs) that were tampered with in the 2004 elections.
The stories told by some of the participants and their confidants in the Batasan operation constitute what could be grounds for another impeachment case against Arroyo.
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