Former poll exec helping Garcia on poll defeat
AFTER losing the gubernatorial race in Cebu, outgoing Rep. Pablo John Garcia of Cebu's 3rd district wants to know how and why it happened.
Garcia tapped the services of retired Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal to review the conduct of Monday's elections in Cebu.
"Right now, there are some substantial questions that need to be answered. There are serious questions as to what happened and what needs to be done," Larrazabal told a press conference at Eddie's Hotel in Cebu City yesterday.
He refused to cite specific concerns at this stage.
"I'm still reviewing documents and analying everything. From there, we will know what plan of actions to take. It's too early to tell what we will do," he said.
In previous media statements, Garcia complained about how the police and armed forces fielded personnel in the towns and seemed to targett leaders of One Cebu by posting policemen and soldiers near their houses to "harrass" them.
Larrazabal, who is among Garcia's consultants, said they're hoping that the Comelec and other agencies accomodate their requests for information and public documents for "transparency."
" These are necessary in order to review the conduct of the last elections," he said.
Asked if they would file an election protest, Larrazabal said "we are evaluating the options. But right now it's difficult to say what options to take."
"We will take all complaints and reports. It's a holistic approach of determining what happened and what needs to be done to answer some serious questions," he said.
After the press conference, Larrazabal was seen with Garcia, who declined to comment.
Larrazabal said Garcia, who has been his friend, sought his assistance to find out what caused the defeat.
"This midterm automated election was supposed to be a walk in the park (for the Comelec) but the mere fact that there were questions, they should answer why this happened," he said.
Larrazabal was with the Comelec from 2004 until 2011. Born in Leyte, he graduated from the University of San Carlos in Cebu.
Having worked with the Comelec for eight years, Larrazabal said he's aware about reports about pre-programming of the Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) machines although the allegations remains to be proven.
"We're looking at many things right now. We have to have more information. With regard to the pre-programming of PCOS machines, somebody has to answer that question because I'm no longer connected with Comelec," he said.
Garcia lost to Davide by a margin of 163,906 votes from 51 cities and towns in the Province of Cebu. Davide, the son of former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., got 654,054 votes while Garcia received 490,148.
Last Friday, the Provincial Board of Canvassers proclaimed Davide as the new governor of the province.
Davide's victory ended the 18-year reign of the Garcias at the Capitol.