Ex-military spy in ‘Hello Garci’ exposé warned vs perjury

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:44pm (Mla time) 08/23/2007

MANILA, Philippines — A former military spy who revealed the videotaped conversation between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and a former election commissioner during the May 2004 election faces perjury if he will testify before the Senate, the President’s legal adviser warned Thursday.


“This is political. This is not in aid of legislation. This is in aid of presidential ambition,” Sergio Apostol told local radio, accusing of Senator Panfilo Lacson of using former Technical Sergeant Vidal Doble of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to launch another presidential election bid in 2010.


Now a senator, Lacson has called for a new public inquiry after finding what he said was fresh evidence implicating her in corrupting the election result.


Lacson played a videotape in the Senate of Doble, who said he had recorded Arroyo asking an election commission official to make sure she won the election by one million votes.


Doble said he had wiretapped a number of officials, including Virgilio Garcillano, a senior official on the election commission. But he later recanted, amid threats to him and his family.


Now in the new videotape shown in the Senate this week, Doble said he had been forced to recant because his family had been kidnapped and threatened with harm at the time.


Lawmakers tried to impeach Arroyo when the tape emerged in 2005.


Ten members of her Cabinet resigned when the opposition leaked the tapes to the press, and Arroyo — although she insisted she had done nothing wrong — publicly apologized for a “lapse in judgement.”


Garcillano was never named as the election official on the tape. But the woman said to be Arroyo was heard greeting him: “Hello Garci.”


A new round of hearings is expected to start next week, said Senate President Manuel Villar.


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