Press Release
December 2, 2011

Cayetano: 'Senate electoral fraud probe will fill in the possible gaps'

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano defended the Senate's parallel investigation on the 2004 alleged poll fraud and asserted that the upper chamber's investigation will help fill in possible gaps in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Commission on Elections (COMELEC) joint probe on the same issue.

He explained that with the fact-finding powers granted to the COMELEC, DOJ and the Office of the Ombudsman, once charges are filed, the case will then be turned into a preliminary investigation.

"Meanwhile, the findings of a Senate probe may be used either as a basis for legislation or may be used by the prosecution later on. The fact finding leeway afforded the Senate is a large one," he said.

The senator pointed out that the probes in the Senate also yield more information about other personalities involved regardless of whether they are big or small players in the issue being investigated.

"The mere fact that media proactively reports about everyone here and their testimonies, helps people to be informed of what really happened in the past elections," he said.

The minority leader stressed that the duty of conducting fair and unbiased investigations falls on the Senate since its composition is varied given the different political parties and background of its members.

He also said that parallel investigations conducted by the Senate would give the people the chance to compare and validate the results of the investigations against each other.

"If agencies conducting investigations have sacred cows in their midst and if the Senate's impartiality is also in question, at the very least the results of simultaneous investigations can be compared," he said.

Cayetano stressed that the most important purpose of a parallel Senate investigation is to give opportunity for all witnesses to speak out and those accused the opportunity to defend themselves. "That all sides can speak and everyone can defend themselves would negate any attempt at a demolition job. What's important is that everyone is given a fair opportunity," he said.

"To those involved in the cheating, come out, tell the truth and become state witnesses. If you need protection, if you need to apply for immunity or you want to turn state witness, let's assess your testimony and evidence and give you the protection allowed by the law," he said.

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