Name names or quit, Gonzales told
By Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales is fomenting instability with his claim that cheating to favor two presidential candidates has begun, Senators Rodolfo Biazon and Aquilino Pimentel said Friday.
The two senators demanded that Gonzales, who also serves as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s national security adviser, name names. If not, Biazon said, “he should be fired” for “conditioning the mind of the [military] and the public about supposed troubles in the elections.”
Gonzales claimed on Wednesday at a forum organized by the Bishops-Ulama Conference that certain officials of the Commission on Elections, the military and the police had been given money to “engineer” election results to benefit the two candidates.
Biazon, a former Armed Forces chief of staff, said Gonzales was “trying to stir up a revolution, and for soldiers to mount that revolution.”
“He’s dangerous to democracy,” Biazon said.
Pimentel, the Senate minority leader, said Gonzales should name the two presidential candidates “so that they can be arrested and prosecuted, no matter who they are.”
“Otherwise, we will only be creating instability in the minds of the people without corresponding actions by government authorities who are in a position to do something about it,” Pimentel said by phone, adding that officials like Gonzales were “obliged by their positions to release [the names of those involved].”
At Camp Aguinaldo, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit said cheating in the elections would happen “only if the people allow it.”
“We cannot do this alone,” Bangit said, reiterating a message that he conveyed at the forum of the Bishops-Ulama Conference.
The Army chief, Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, said he and his men were “continuously checking” the allegation of bribery.
“But so far, we have not received any information from our men that bribery attempts had occurred,” he said.
PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa, through spokesperson Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina, called on Gonzales to back his claim that police and military personnel were involved in cheating. With reports from Jocelyn R. Uy and Marlon Ramos