Press Release
March 26, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said Malacañang s failure to come to the rescue of former Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano after his passport was found by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to be fake showed it has no qualms of abandoning an individual after having exploited him or her for partisan political ends.

Two of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos top aides Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Presidential Chief-of-Staff Michael Defensor asked that Malacañang not be dragged into the issue, reiterating the Palace claim it had no hand in Garcillanos previous efforts to evade congressional investigation by going into hiding at the height of the Hello Garci tape scandal.

Defensor was quoted as saying that the Palace will back the attempt of congressmen to further investigate the alleged forging of Garcillanos passport and to charge him with perjury if there are sufficient grounds for the offense.

Glorias distancing herself from Garcillanos forged passport betrays her penchant to use others for her own ends but when its over, she will leave them to their own devices, Bolante and others, beware! Pimentel said.

According to the BSPs findings, Garcillanos second passport (No. JJ243816), covering Feb. 11, 2002 to Feb. 11, 2007, does not conform to standard on six counts, but his previous passport (No. BB602533) covering Nov. 8, 1996 to Nov. 8, 2001) conforms to standard.

The findings were contained in the certification issued by BSP Deputy Governor Armando Suratos to the five House investigating committees which requested examination of the two passports in February.

It is the BSP, an independent agency, that prints all blank passports for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Pimentel said Garcillano created his own booby-trap when he denied having left the country despite an official certification from the Singapore government that he arrived in Singapore on July 14, 2005 and left for London the next day.

Based on BSPs findings, Garcillanos second passport was smaller in size than the standard and the pages (1 to 32) had cuts and joints along the seam which should not have been there.

Pimentel commended the BSP for its professionalism, transparency and courage in coming out with its findings on Garcillanos passport unmindful of the fact that it would be displeasing the powers-that-be for faithfully doing its job.

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