WHAT’S the difference between the tape in former Estrada lawyer Alan Paguia’s possession and the “original” and “spliced” versions released to the press last Monday by Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye?
Paguia’s 30-minute tape is about twice the length of Bunye’s and contains 15 more phone conversations, mostly between former Sen. Robert Barbers and Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano (at least that’s who Paguia insists are talking) on how to ensure that Barbers would make it to the 12th and last senatorial slot—for a price.
The tape also carries conversations between Garcillano and a man, during which a suggestion is made to kidnap Rashma Hali, election officer of Tipo Tipo town in Basilan, and her family amid fears that she would testify on the cheating supposedly committed by the Arroyo administration on the island.
Unlike Bunye’s tapes, Paguia’s does not indicate the date and time the conversations take place.
In a brief introduction preceding the controversial recordings, Paguia says he is positive that the voices on his tape belong to President Gloria Arroyo, First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, Commissioner Garcillano and ex-senator Barbers.
As in the “spliced” tape, the President addresses a certain “Garcy” in two phone calls captured on Paguia’s tape. “Garcy’s” voice, in turn, resembles that of Garcillano in his conversations with Barbers, the First Gentleman, Rep. Gerry Espina and a couple more people. Barbers also calls Garcillano “Commissioner.”
In Paguia’s tape, a desperate-sounding Barbers initially reports to Garcillano that two Comelec people had asked him for P5 million to fix the results. He later entreats the commissioner to add 70,000 votes in his favor in the Basilan count. In a later conversation, Garcillano instructs Barbers to deliver “one-five” to his executive secretary, a certain Ellen Peralta.
The last recorded conversation between Barbers and Garcillano on Paguia’s tape has the former senator joyfully reporting that he had won in Ligao, Albay and that the First Gentleman would take care of the commissioner after the proclamation for helping him (Barbers). The call is capped by a request from the former senator, “Huwag mo lang akong pabayaan, Commissioner.”
On Hali, Garcillano is recorded as having said the election officer of Tipo-Tipo would bring no damage to Mrs. Arroyo’s candidacy even if she were presented by opposition lawyer Rufus Rodriguez as a witness on the cheating in Basilan. Gov. Wahab Akbar instead would be in hot water, according to Garcillano.
The conversations “missing” from Bunye’s tapes appear in the next post.