Controversial poll fraud report cites possible liability of military officers

Posted on August 18, 2011

A CONTROVERSIAL report on poll fraud kept secret during the previous administration has recommended an investigation of military personnel who may be liable in the 2004 general elections.

The so-called Mayuga report was released to the House of Representatives yesterday by President Benigno S. C. Aquino III which contains results of a probe conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on the alleged involvement of military personnel in election irregularities.

In a letter addressed to Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri J. Colmenares, who requested for a copy of the report, Mr. Aquino said he "allowed the de-classification of the Armed Forces of the Philippines fact-finding report."

"Conduct further investigation to determine specific culpability of some AFP personnel on the alleged unprofessional conduct of some AFP officers in connection with the 2004 election," a portion of the report said.

The report, named after then Vice-Admiral Mateo M. Mayuga, chairman of the fact-finding body, said it "generally finds that many AFP personnel deployed for election duties were unfamiliar with election laws, rules and regulations."

It noted that any lapse in judgment of military personnel deputized to reform election duties pursuant to Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution was due to "inadequate policy guidelines for election deputation duties."

It recommended better coordination between the Comelec and AFP in future election activities to prevent fraud.

The report absolved officials linked to an alleged conspiracy to rig votes in favor of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, namely, then Army chief Lt. Gen. Hermogenes E. Esperon, then Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Gabriel A. Habacon and retired Lt. Gen. Roy V. Kyamko.

Retired Brig. Gen. Francisco V. Gudani, accused of being sympathetic to the opposition, was also cleared.

Meanwhile, a joint probe team looking into fraud allegations met for the first time yesterday to discuss details on proceedings.

Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano, head of the Department of Justice-Comelec panel, said in a telephone interview yesterday "there [was] no final agreement [on the rules]."

"We were basically discussing the rules that we will adapt during the proceedings," he added, "but no ground rules were reached."

Mr. Arellano was joined by Comelec Law Department head Ferdinand Rafanan, Michael Villaret, Laguna Provincial Prosecutor George Dee and Pasig City Prosecutor Jacinto Ang. -- NMG and ASOG