Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hello, Garci timeline

Here's a "Hello, Garci" timeline from GMANEws.TV.

June 6, 2005

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye holds a press conference, plays two compact disc recordings, says that both contain the voice of the President but one was doctored.

June 8, 2005

Suspended lawyer Allan Paguia says he was the source of the recordings. Paguia intended his distribution to be on an installment basis to keep the Palace in the dark.

June 10, 2005

On June 10, whistleblower Samuel Ong, a former deputy director of the country's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) announced in a public press conference in Manila that he was the source of a set of audio tapes in circulation for the past week around the country. The master tape is allegedly of a wiretapped conversation between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Virgilio Garcillano. Ong currently holds, as he claims, one out of four known master tapes that may incriminate Mrs Arroyo. He says that he did not tape Mrs Arroyo's conversation himself; the evidence was just entrusted to him by another source.

June 11, 2005

On June 11, Ong resided in the San Carlos Seminary in Guadalupe, Makati. Sympathizers in the area vowed to prevent his arrest and/or death. Later, the Office of the President formally denied the accusations to the public, although Mrs Arroyo's spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, had earlier acknowledged that it was Mrs Arroyo's voice in the Ong tape. Mass protests grew around the country, by the thousands.

June 12, 2005

On June 12, the country celebrated independence day. Philippine police tighten security around the seminary. Protesters who held vigil in the seminary, and in other areas, dwindled as people paid their respects to the day of independence. Protest activity overall was minimal, compared to the two previous days.

Ong tapes spread, through different forms of media like written transcripts which circulated.


June 13, 2005

On June 13, the official position of the government held on to the stand that the pieces of evidence are fake, and Mrs Arroyo did not commit electoral fraud. Copies of tapes, CDs, and written transcripts spread.

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) challenged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) regarding warning of a possible forced closure of networks that air the contents of the tapes that involve the conversations of President Arroyo.

June 14, 2005

On June 14, The KBP attacked the NTC by calling their warning as "an attack on press freedom." The spread of tapes, CDs, written transcripts are accompanied by the spread of computer files (.doc, and .mp3) versions of the Ong recordings over the Internet. Authorities later released their own government endorsed copies over the Internet, and called the Ong recordings, already widespread, as "manipulated". Ong sympathizers countered by calling the act a last ditch attempt by the government to save itself. Sympathizers said that since the government can't control the spread of the Ong recordings, authorities just tried to confuse the electorate with their own fake recordings.

Foreign experts reportedly confirmed that the Ong recordings do indeed have the voices of Mrs Arroyo and Garcillano. This was confirmed by New Jersey based Voice Identification Inc. Mrs Arroyo has yet to respond. With the tape itself authenticated, and the voices therein confirmed, Ong sympathizers began a fresh wave of protests calling for the legal ouster of politicians. They called for the Supreme Court to declare the 2004 elections null and void. They also supported the creation of interim government, new elections, all to be followed by a new legitimate government. Mrs Arroyo stood by her claim of innocence.

June 17, 2005

On June 17, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the Arroyo administration for attempting to restrict the airing of the Ong recordings. Christopher Warren, IFJ president said that, "Threatening journalists and media organizations is an unacceptable practice in a democracy; the [Arroyo] administration needs to be more transparent in its dealings with election officials."

Authorities instead allowed the country's media to play a government endorsed recording which they claim to be the original. The government tapes portray a conversation of Mrs Arroyo and a man named Gary, rather than Garci (nickname of Garcillano). The Ong recordings though have already been verified (both tape and content) by two neutral parties. Also, the courts have not yet had a say on the matter.

June 18, 2005

On June 18, the KBP announced that the Ong recordings may now be aired to the general public, until it is proven to be an illegal wiretap by the Arroyo administration. Both the Ong recordings and the government endorsed recordings were broadcast on mass media channels.

June 19, 2005

On June 19, Virgilio Garcillano was reportedly seen in Zamboanga City, preparing to go abroad. Copies of both recordings spread further everywhere through almost every possible means of mass media. A significant number of the country's electorate was already able to access the recordings. Names of many other election candidates and other politicians are reportedly mentioned in the recordings.

Procedures that are already in place could help end the issue of electoral fraud allegations on Mrs Arroyo, Garcillano and any other related party. Everyday life for most citizens moved back to normal, though the crisis is still ongoing. Members of Congress reportedly were interested in starting hearings about the crisis.

June 27, 2005

On June 27, a day before the burial of the former Archbishop of Manila Jaime Cardinal Sin, President Arroyo addressed the country with a television broadcast. She admitted that it was indeed her voice on the tape. She explained that she was just asking for a count in Mindanao, the southern island. Her admission was followed by an apology addressed to the people stating that she made a "lapse in judgment" in communicating with an electoral commission official during the election. Lawyer Oliver Lozano filed an impeachment case against Mrs Arroyo on the grounds of her alleged betrayal of public trust. Representative Prospero Pichay was confident that no congressman would endorse the impeachment case, however a party list representative had indeed endorsed it. The largest opposition group did not support impeachment because they believed that it was part of the political maneuvering of the administration. Former president and opposition leader Estrada said that Mrs Arroyo could not be impeached because impeachment is made on a legitimate president which, according to him, she was "not."

Click here for the full timeline.

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