In an exclusive, Virgilio Garcellano finall broke his silence. He says he spoke to the President, Loren Legarda, Mar Roxas, Chiz Escudero (on behalf of his dad), and Jamby Madrigal. And he has given tacit confirmation on the Palace strategy to come:
Tell the people that the conversations that have publicly come out of the tapes are untrue… Many of these conversations were doctored [specifically, the “will I win by 1 million votes?” conversation with the President]… I did not say that, I categorically deny that… The people are biased. I never did anything to destroy the electoral process. I am not that stupid.
He says at the proper time he will confront his accusers. This indicates that the targets Garcellano is willing to implicate by association are the above (interestingly, the text message I quoted the other day seems more on the money). Garcellano is sending, I think, a shot across the bow of both the administration’s allies (potential vice-presidents such as Roxas) and both the Estrada and non-Estrada opposition. He is also sending a message that those calling for the President to be impeached or for her to resign, solely on the basis of the tapes, may lose a leg to stand on. Since the President admitted only to conversing with an official, but never authenticated a particular conversation (or conversations), it can still be said some, or all, were doctored. Loren Legarda, for one, has denied any conversation. The House is keeping up the pressure on Alan Paguia on the reasonable principle that if he really wants his 15 minutes of fame, it isn’t going to be handed to him on a silver platter. Note however, that demolishing Paguia (which would be nice) still leaves Ong, and still leaves time for either person to somehow, gain some sympathy. The Palace counter-offensive is gearing up.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is continuing to rally OFW’s to support the President. The President herself continues with efforts to drum up support, including what Ellen Tordesillas calls “groveling” at the Governor-General’s (U.S. Embassy). As for the option of turning to an impeachment, the Palace says, bring it on! The only ray of sunshine for everyone is that Joseph Estrada finally admits his being president-in-waiting was a trial balloon that flopped.
Carmen Guerrero Nakpil writes a thoughtful column on “Where did we go wrong,” observing that,
Of 100 Filipinos, 61 must support 39, who are either children below 15 or old-age pensioners. But of that labor force of 61, 7 are unemployed, 38 employed locally, 3 in college, 13 working abroad, 12 being unskilled laborers or subsistence farmers and fishermen. Only 5 are managers and only two professionals. Those figures show the failure of the educational system and the uneven distribution of resources. And yet we have been on our own (despite American benevolence) and for more than half a century… Only 52 of those 100 Filipinos are registered voters. 31 in Luzon, 10 in the Visayas and 11 in Mindanao. But of the registered voters, only 39 cast their votes in 2004.
The column makes for sobering reading. A Communist manifesto, in turn, comes from E. San Juan.