‘Hello Garci’: again and again

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


AUDIO recording of a phone conversation between then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano set off one of the most memorable scandals of the nation.

They were talking about rigging the 2004 polls in favor of GMA. She admitted it was her voice and she apologized but denied she stole the presidency from Fernando Poe Jr.

The incident scarred her tenure and cast indelible stain on her governance. To this day, "Hello Garci" has been source of ridicule and fodder for political agenda, noble or not:

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l Last January, PNoy's secret meeting with Sen. Bong Revilla to plead for his vote in the Corona impeachment trial was compared to GMA's infamous phone call;

l Last May 20, United Nationalist Alliance secretary-general Toby Tiangco said the "hurried appearance" of three Napoles lists can be a trick by Malacañang to confuse the public, similar to two versions of the "Garci" tapes in 2005, "practically the same story repeating itself";

l Last May 28, Sen. Grace Po recalled the "Garci" scandal to push for measures that prevent high-tech cheating in the polls.

Lesson
"Hello Garci," as metaphor and chunk of history, has been useful as political ammunition and basic lesson on electoral fraud.

In 2011, a military agent told the Senate he burned the "Garci " tapes. A decade after GMA whispered on the phone about "dagdag, dagdag" (add, add), "Hello Garci" still confounds and infuriates, again and again.

(paseares@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 30, 2014.

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