Posts Tagged ‘mayuga report’

The Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit should investigate the P197 million election fund given to the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the 2004 elections. The Summary of Interviews annexed to the Mayuga report raises questions on the possible misuse of the election funds. Based on interviews of various officials involved in the programming and disbursing of funds, the bulk of the funds were not used for AFP units doing election duties, but by the intelligence units of the AFP.

In 2004, the COMELEC released P197 million when it deputized the AFP for election duties nationwide. The funds were supposed to cover expenses of the TF HOPE headquarters, operational expenses, missions and reservists.

In his interview with the Mayuga panel, then Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Garcia who headed the Task Force Honest Orderly and Peaceful Elections (HOPE) suggested that the AFP review how the election funds were spent because it was a big amount of money and that what was spent did not come close to the amount that was released. Though Garcia headed the TF HOPE, he said the funds were not even shown to him. He said he did not know “how the funds were broken down”.

According to Garcia, the funds were under the control of J3 or the General Staff for Operations then headed by M/Gen. Hermogenes Esperon. He said that Esperon was in Mindanao in 2004 as J3 and that he “can be anywhere to supervise…election and non-election matters.”

Meanwhile, Lt.Col. Gilbert Gapay, who was the budget officer of Esperon, testified before the panel that the bulk of the P197 million election funds, amounting to P101 million, was intended for intelligence projects and was therefore released to the Office of the J2 (Intelligence) and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

When Esperon was interviewed by the Mayuga panel about the liquidation of the funds, he said that the comptroller of TF HOPE was supposed to do this, but since the TF was disbanded, the liquidation would be done by J6 (Comptroller).

The different personalities interviewed by the Mayuga panel had differing accounts on how funds were approved, released and liquidated. There were inconclusive statements on how the funds were actually used and what steps were taken to properly liquidate these funds. No one was able to offer a definitive explanation on what happened to the funds after the 2004 elections.

According to the testimony of Navy Lt.Cdr. Napoleon Suarez of the AFP budget office, the funds were released in three tranches, P25 million in April 29, P101 million in April 30, and P71 million from April 30 to July 8 and that the Programmed Operating Expenses were prepared by the office of Gen. Esperon.

How were the funds “broken down”? According to AFP records obtained from sources, the P25 million first tranche was used mainly for operational support of various units doing election duty. Of the total amount, ISAFP only got P300,000 for “intelligence operations”.

The allotment of the second tranche was nothing short of astounding. Of the total second tranche of P101 million, P80 million was allotted for the Office of the J2 (Intelligence) for six so-called “intelligence projects”. These intelligence projects went by names such as “Starbucks”, “Nescafe”, “SONA”, “Salakot” and “Turban” and  had corresponding Allotment Advise numbers. From the same tranche, the ISAFP received P6 million for operational support. The Philippine Army and the Philippine Navy received P10 million and P5 million respectively for operational support.

Of the third tranche of P71 million, J2 received an additional P5 million for “intelligence projects” while ISAFP received an additional P1.6 million for intelligence operations.

In all, the J2 received a total of P85 million for so-called “intelligence projects”, making it the single biggest recipient of funds from the COMELEC allotment. “Bumukol”, as what Jun Lozada would say when referring to anomalous items.  ISAFP meanwhile received a total of P7.9 million also making it one of the bigger recepient of funds. Of P197 million from COMELEC, the total funds for intelligence projects and operations (J2, ISAFP) amounted to P92.9 million (and not P101 million as earlier claimed by Gapay).

Majority of the funds released did not go to the actual AFP units deputized by the COMELEC to perform election duties in the so-called hot spots.

Who approved the programming and release of funds? Some officers interviewed said that the programming of the funds was done by the TF Commander (Garcia) with approval by then AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Narcisso Abaya. Gen. Garcia says he has nothing to do with the funds and was not even aware of the breakdown of the funds. Yet other officers say that the J3 (Esperon) was the one who programmed the funds.

Why was there a need to allot huge funds for J2? One unverifeid theory goes that it was J3 that programmed the huge funds for J2 intelligence projects to give J3 some room for maneuver when it came to the use of funds. After the funds were released to J2, these were allegedly “converted” into cash and given to J3 allegedly for election operations favoring GMA. Since the J2 funds would be unaudited, it would be a perfect way to convert then divert the funds, without having to officially liquidate them. The head of J2,Maj. Gen. Pedro Ramboanga, was a classmate of Gen. Esperon.

The fact that Gen. Garcia, TF HOPE commander himself, had doubts on the use of funds should already compel COA and the Comelec to look into these disbursements.

Comelec and COA should investigate all personalities who may have been involved in the approval, release, use and liquidation of these funds. These include Gen. Esperon, his operations chief then colonel and now M/Gen. Rey Ardo, as well as Esperon’s budget officer Lt.Col. Gapay and even the personnel of the Office of the Comptroller of the AFP GHQ.

While on the matter of funds, some P2.8 million from the COMELEC was allotted to the Presidential Security Group. It is not clear what election-related work the PSG was conducting for it to receive funds from the poll body.

A probe into how the AFP poll funds were used may lead us to how the 2004 elections were rigged and who among the military should be accountable.###


One ranking officer said the Garci tapes were real. Another said he was told to slacken security so that a governor can maneuver against the lead of FPJ. Stil another believes that the temporary transfer of a brigade commander was intended to help partisan officials to maipulate the poll results in a province.

The summary of interviews conducted by the AFP fact-finding panel regarding the conduct of the military in relation to the fraud-tainted 2004 polls will show that several ranking officers believed that there was indeed election fraud in Mindanao. These were some of the crucial angles that were not pursued and instead covered up by the AFP probers in the Mayuga report.

The interviews reveal a divided and corrupted AFP. Several ranking officers testified about bribery, electioneering and other actions that undermined the 2004 polls. These should have been the basis for a thorough investigation into the conduct and criminal liability of some officials. However, the AFP leadership during GMA’s term chose to look the other way and cover up these incidents.

In a way, it is not surprising that the Arroyo government hid this report from the public. The summary of interviews provides a glimpse into how the AFP operated during the fraud-tainted 2004 polls. It shows how traditional partisan politics corrupted the officers at different levels.

The information on fraud is contained in the 65-page summary of interviews attached to the main Mayuga report. Among the interesting observations by ranking officials are the ones made by Lt. Gen Rodolfo Garcia who headed the AFP Task Force on Honest Orderly and Peaceful Elections (HOPE).

Garcia said that feedback from ground commanders indicated pressure from senior officers and that some officers were involved in partisan politics. Regarding the involvement of AFP officials as heard from the “Garci” tapes, he told investigators “that is true and you better accept it at this point in time. We all know it. Whether you deny it to yourself or not, we have to accept it that our officers have been involved in this.”

Garcia asked his investigators to “look deep inside and ask yourself… whether these things happen” and told them that “the answer is yes”. “There are people among us who have allowed themselves to be used. I think everybody knows that.” Garcia added.

As to what motivates officers to engage in fraud, Garcia cited personal interest, personal ambition and careerism.   “You will do everything because you are obsessed where your career will go,” Garcia explained.

Garcia challenged the fact-finding panel to do its job and make the right recommendations, saying that “if we do not do anything now, this organization will go to the dogs and politics will not be stopped”. He asked the AFP Inspector General to “be brave” even if some members of the military were beneficiaries of the 2004 election fraud.

Garcia believed that the funding for TF HOPE should be looked into because “it was a big amount of money and I don’t think what was spent really came close to the amount given us.” Some P197 million was reportedly earmarked for TF HOPE in 2004.

It bears empahsis that no less than the officer who headed Task Force HOPE was saying that fraud may have happened and that the contents of the Garci wiretaps were real. The Mayuga panel should have pursued this lead yet there is no mention of this in the recommendations.

Other officers interviewed gave their own observations about fraud.

Lt. Col. Roland Villanueva who was commander of the 26th IB said that there was money offered by local candidates and that the “COMELEC can count votes even (if) ballot boxes are not yet opened.”

Lt. Col. Alexander Balutan said he received verbal instructions for Col. Giomendo Pirino to “support the administration and slacken security in canvassing areas”. He said he did not follow the instructions. He told the panel that he would rather “go to the mountains” than allow his Marine Battalion to be used in fraud.

Then B/Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, commander of the 103rd Brigade assigned in Mindanao said that he received a phone call from a governor complaining that security was too tight, that they could not maneuver (“hindi makagalaw”) and that “FPJ was winning in practically in all precincts”. Ferrer said that he received instructions from his Division Commander to loosen security as requested by the governor.

This crucial testimony shows that there were maneuvers being done because FPJ was winning and that the AFP was in some way complicit in these maneuvers. Again the Mayuga report apparently ignored this and looked the other way instead of deepening its probe.

Ferrer would later on be appointed Martial Law admnistrator for Maguindanao after the Amapatuan massacre in 2009. Was this just coincidence? Or was Ferrer also tasked to clean up whatever damning evidence Amapatuan may have left behind that would implicate GMA in the 2004 poll fraud?

Lt. Col. Elmer Logronio of the Marines had a “strong feeling that the elections were manipulated at the higher levels  and that the removal of his Brigade Cmdr B/Gen. Francisco Gudani, is an indication,” according to the summary.

There is reason to believe that Gen. Gudani was relieved because he was not a known supporter of GMA and that the operators could not do their magic in his area. This is confirmed in the Garci tapes and by actual events when Gudani was called to Manila during the canvassing of votes.

Logronio also said that that his battalion conducted a conference to hear a presentation apparently in support of partylist ANAD. One officer, Army Col. Rey Ardo was going around different units in Mindanao campaigning for ANAD not just among soldiers but also among civilian officials. This confirms our long-held view that the ANAD partylist is a government supported group.

Captain Valentino Lopez, the aide of Virgilio Garcillano at the time of the 2004 elections, said that his assignment to the Comelec commissioner was an “internal arrangement” not covered by any actual orders. Lopez was accused by Comelec lawyer Helen Flore of attempting to bribe her with P50 million then P100 million. However, the summary of the interviews did not show the Mayuga panel pursuing this lead.

Based on Flores interview, she accused Capt. Lopez of offering a bribe to help a mayoralty candidate and to “remedy the big lead of FPJ in favor of GMA”.

This should have already triggered a full investigation because Lopez is the aide and nephew of Garcillano and the latter was the central figure along with GMA in the Hello Garci tapes. Yet the Mayuga panel didn’t seem to raise these questions in their interview with Lopez.

Lopez should definitely be summoned by the DOJ-Comelec investigating panel. NEWSBREAK earlier tagged him a the possible “missing link” who could bolster the testimony of another witness, Michaelangelo Zuce.

Airforce Col. Rene Pilapil of the TOG in Tawi-Tawi said that there was a request made for the landing of two helicopters by an alleged lawyer of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Unfortunately, the circumstances and purpose of this visit was not elaborated on by the Mayuga panel.

The most incredulous interview may have been given by then M/Gen. Hermogenes Esperon. According to the summary of interviews, Esperon “boasted that the elections in 2004 was very clean” and that “credit should go to the AFP and PNP for doing their best to have more honest, orderly and peaceful elections.”  Two years later, Esperon would be appointed by GMA as AFP Chief of Staff. ###

Mayuga Report Summary

Summary of Interviews 1

Summary of Interviews 2

Summary of Interviews 3