Ombud recommends filing of perjury raps vs Garcillano

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio-Morales recommended on Tuesday the filing of perjury charges against Virgilio Garcillano for alleged falsification of his congressional statements and travel documents, as well as tampering with his passport when he went into hiding at the height of the "Hello Garci" scandal.

In a statement, Morales said there is a probable cause to charge the former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner with perjury under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code and violation of Section 19(c) of the Philippine Passport Act.

The case stemmed from the complaint-affidavit filed in January 2012 by Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño against Garcillano, who resurfaced after the 2004 "Hello Garci" controversy, for falsely testifying under oath and presenting a spurious passport during the Congressional joint committee hearing.


In a 13-page resolution, Morales said that Garcillano "made a deliberate and willful assertion of a falsehood during the congressional hearing when he testified that he never left the Philippines after the 'Hello Garci' controversy broke out."

The resolution pointed out that the Note Verbale dated August 31, 2005 issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore confirmed that Garcillano "transited in Singapore on 14 July 2005 on board a Learjet 35 with the registration number RP-C-1426" and "departed Singapore on 15 July 2005 on board Singapore Airlines Flight SQ 320."

It added that Garcillano took his oath before Representative Emmylou Talino-Santos, a competent officer authorized to administer oaths, at the start of the congressional proceedings, as evidenced by the transcript of stenographic notes.

Further, the resolution found that Garcillano also violated RA 82391 due to the forged passport he presented before the congressional hearing.

The Ombudsman cited the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Laboratory Examination Report dated March 20, 2006 that concluded that "Garcillano's passport does not conform to standard after discovering badges of forgery such as: (i) smaller size of booklet; (ii) variance in the paper when he presented and print used in the inside front and back covers; (iii) additional stitching along the seam; (iv)presence of cuts and joints along the seam; and (v) presence of the text 'Bisa-Visa' on the upper portion of, and variance in the print quality of certain text on page 32 of the passport."

"While the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) issued a certification that its Regional Consular Office in Cagayan de Oro issued a passport bearing no. JJ243816 to respondent, respondent did not show proof that the questioned passport was the same passport issued by the Cagayan de Oro Regional Consular Office," the resolution stated.

Citing jurisprudence, the Resolution added that "[r]espondent, being in possession of the forged passport and the one to benefit from its presentation before the Congressional Joint Committee, is presumed to be forger."

The resolution however dismissed the charge of falsification by a public officer "because the element of 'taking advantage of official position' was found lacking."

"[R]espondent, although a public officer, acted not by reason of his office, his position as a Comelec Commissioner not having anything to do with the issuance of a passport,” the resolution stressed.

The "Hello Garci" controversy sparked when audio recordings of an alleged telephone conversation between then Comelec commissioner Garcillano and then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the height of the 2004 Presidential Elections were released to the public by the late former NBI deputy director for intelligence Samuel Ong.

The former President was accused of massive fraud when she, by a slim margin, won against the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. (Sunnex)

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