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Ex-Navy chief ‘can’t remember’ report on ‘Garci generals’

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 12:42:00 05/21/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Former Navy chief Mateo Mayuga claims he “cannot remember” certain details of his controversial report clearing senior military officers of involvement in alleged vote-rigging operations that supposedly ensured President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s victory in the 2004 elections.

At the same time, Mayuga said it was up to the military leadership to decide what to do with his report, which has never been released in full to the public.

Asked about allegations his failure to interview certain witnesses resulted in the exoneration of generals linked to the supposed electoral fraud, Mayuga said: “Sa totoo lang, hindi ko na matandaan [To tell you the truth, I cannot remember]. I’m now with the private sector.”

Mayuga was guarded when interviewed by reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Navy’s 110th anniversary celebration in Manila on Tuesday.

Asked if he would advocate the release of the report, Mayuga replied: “I’m a private citizen. No comment ako dyan [I won’t comment on that].”

When pressed if the release of his report would make any difference, he said: “I don’t want to say anything about the report because I’m a private citizen. It’s just up to the leadership of the Armed Forces on what to do with that report.”

In an interview on government television on Holy Wednesday in April 2006, Mayuga said there was no evidence to link four generals mentioned in supposed wiretapped conversations between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and ex-elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to alleged election fraud.

The four retired generals are: Former Armed Forces Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr., former Southern Command chiefs Gabriel Habacon and Roy Kyamko, and former Philippine Military Academy (PMA) deputy superintendent Francisco Gudani.

Asked if there was anything new in the unreleased portions of his report, Mayuga said: “Andun na lahat yun [Everything is there].”

Pressed on whether any witness linked Esperon to vote-rigging, Mayuga said: “Siguro, ‘wag nyo na sa akin [Maybe, don’t ask me]. I’m in the private sector.”

Mayuga retired in December 2006. He said he reused an undersecretary post at the defense department so that he could go on vacation after 38 years in military service.

“I was on vacation for one year, then I decided to join the private sector,” said Mayuga, who is now chairman and chief executive officer of Glenn Defense Marine Asia Philippines Inc., a maritime security firm.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-05-21T06:24:41+00:00UTC05bUTCWed, 21 May 2008 06:24:41 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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