"Recto and Gloria Arroyo's partnership on cheating and stealing votes go a long, long way. They truly deserve each other."
By ELLEN TORDESILLAS
Senators Joker Arroyo and Ralph Recto truly belong to Gloria Arroyo.
We can now throw away whatever illusions we had nurtured for Joker in matters of democratic ideals, honesty and integrity. Never mind Recto. We never expected much from him.
A conversation I heard last week between a PDP-Laban stalwart and a reporter who covered the 2001 senatorial campaign should help explain Joker Arroyo's puzzling maneuvers in the Senate when it comes to issues against Mike Arroyo as well as his decision to be on the administration ticket for his re-election bid.
The PDP-Laban official said, "I really find it difficult to understand Joker being with Gloria."
The reporter said, "I don't find it surprising. During the 2001 campaign, he was profuse in his thanks to Mike Arroyo. So we supposed it was Mike Arroyo who bankrolled his campaign. So who would finance his campaign now if he joined the opposition?"
The financing factor is confirmed to us by a staffer of a senator who belongs to this Wednesday group. He said Malacañang assured his principal that he doesn't have to worry about the costly rental of helicopter and aircraft to traverse the archipelago during the campaign because he will be provided those for free.
A senatorial campaign today, with the astronomical cost of TV ads, would cost at least P250 million. The source told us the Wednesday group re-electionist senators, who are all rating well, were offered at least P100 million each campaign contribution.
How's that for incentive?
In their statement, Arroyo and Recto said, "We ran for the Senate and won on the Arroyo administration slate. Nothing that has happened since gives us reason not to do the same in our reelection bid."
They ran in 2001. In June 2004, the "Hello Garci" tapes came out which showed Gloria Arroyo directing the tampering of election results in her favor. That's "nothing that has happened since"?
We are not surprised with Recto's playing deaf and dumb to the "Hello Garci" issue, which strikes at the legitimacy of Gloria Arroyo's presidency, because that resurrects the ghosts of his "turtle" votes in 2001.
It should be recalled that in the 2001 election, Recto and Gringo Honasan were contesting the 12th and 13th slots. The 12th would get a six-year term and the 13th would get the three-year term that was vacated by Sen. Teofisto Guingona (who had been appointed vice president).
The camp of Honasan questioned the votes that Recto got in Turtle Island in Tawi-Tawi because they exceeded the number of registered voters in that small municipality. Where did the votes come from then? The joke was that even the turtles voted.
Recto also has one important connecting link with Gloria Arroyo: Roque Bello.
Bello is described by Gigi Go of Newsbreak as "a retired regional director of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in his 60s who is known in political circles to have the sophistication and the right contacts within the poll body to influence the votes to favor whoever his principal is."
In her exposé on the manufacturing of fake election returns in 2004 to replace with the genuine ones, which showed Fernando Poe Jr., winning over Gloria Arroyo. Go said on May 18, 2001, Arroyo met with Bello as a practice run for the 2004 election cheating operation.
"In that 2001 meeting," Go said, "the President was supposed to have been given Bello the orders to make sure Ralph Recto would win a full six-year term."
Recto and Gloria Arroyo's partnership on cheating and stealing votes go a long, long way. They truly deserve each other.
Posted on Feb 14, 2007, 9:50 AM from IP address 184.108.40.206