A Quezon City lawmaker today rejected the proposed vote recount of the 2004 presidential polls and urged the joint Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Department of Justice (DoJ) team to focus instead its investigation solely on the alleged poll irregularities committed by the camp of ex-president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In a press statement, Rep. Winnie Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) said a vote recount proposed by certain quarters would be unnecessary to establish the actual winner of the 2004 presidential elections, but stressed that the official probe on alleged electoral fraud by Mrs. Arroyo and her allies would be sufficient and sustainable.
“The clamor to pursue a vote recount would be totally costly, laborious and impractical,” Castelo said. “The proposed vote recount would only to divert the attention of the Comelec-DoJ team from its mandate of probing electoral fraud.”
Castelo made the statement as new witnesses have emerged to provide new pieces of evidence and corroborate earlier testimonies of other witnesses that Mrs. Arroyo’s camp had indeed cheated to make her win in 2004.
But certain quarters identified with Mrs. Arroyo rejected the official Comelec-DoJ investigation and argued strongly that only a vote recount would establish the winner of the 2004 presidential elections.
“We need a closure on a controversial issue of tremendous magnitude and importance,” said Castelo, a neophyte lawmaker, who claimed to have perceived what he felt a “groundswell of popular support” for a probe on the alleged electoral fraud by Mrs. Arroyo and her allies.
Castelo said the nation’s inability to put a closure on nagging political issues has been a stumbling block towards the attainment of political stability.
At the same time, Castelo warned that any official probe declaring the late movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. as the winner of the 2004 presidential polls could lead to devastating consequences for Mrs. Arroyo and her family, saying the nation should prepare itself for what he a “reversal of fortune” that would have no precedent in the country’s political history.
“We have to treat the issue of electoral fraud in 2004 presidential elections with urgency,” Castelo said, as he stressed it has attained dimensions of becoming a political question that requires immediate settlement.
“Contrary to claims of other quarters, Mr. Poe’s death does not make the issue moot and academic. The probe could continue without the participation of the presidential candidate, who was allegedly cheated in 2004,” Castelo said.
“The persons, who claimed to have been part of the alleged fraud, are around and willing to give their testimonies before an appropriate forum. We have to welcome them and listen to what they want to say,” Castelo said. 30