The Black & White Movement views with concern media reports that Virgilio Garcillano has returned.We welcome this development because we have been quite vocal about wanting to see “Garci” return home. However, we are also concerned that he might be part of the continuing grand cover-up that Mrs. Arroyo has been undertaking.After all, after months of being untraceable and unreachable, his sudden reappearance seems curiously timed for the administration’s convenience. Aside from Garcillano’s wife, only Rep. Prospero Pichay, Mrs. Arroyo’s anointed candidate for Speaker of the House, has come forward to claim direct communication with him. This can only mean Garcillano remains firmly in Mrs. Arroyo’s pocket.
Instead of a holiday season filled with optimism and good cheer, and goodwill toward all, we are poised to witness a cunningly crafted performance. Mr. Garcillano will step forward and recount a version of events divorced from reality. As it is, we hear many administration allies suggesting Mr. Garcillano never even left the country, which boggles the mind and insinuates that the Singapore Foreign Ministry lied when it said Garci passed through Singapore on July 14. However, there is nothing the administration won’t do in order to promote its alternative reality. It will take a superhuman effort from citizens both outside government, and within the bureaucracy, to reveal the truth so firmly guarded by the government’s lies. As it is, allies of the search for the truth are being sidelined by the Palace. Rep. Gilbert Remulla, who was hot on Garci's trail in the House inquiry, has been replaced as Chair of the lead investigating committee. The timing of this move is very suspicious. And convenient.
It does not have to be that way. Mr. Garcillano still has a chance to finally do his country a service, and tell the truth. Unvarnished, unpolished, unprepared, but honest, forthright, and thorough. As Mrs. Arroyo herself once challenged the country, “let the chips fall where they may”. The Black & White Movement’s challenge isn’t hollow, like Mrs. Arroyo’s. Let the truth be told, though the heavens – or the administration’s power built on lies - fall. Mr. Garcillano can implicate all the people he wants – and should implicate all those who availed of his services - but he shouldn’t have selective amnesia when it comes to his clients and what they had him do in the last elections.
He should be forthright about where he has been, and with whom he has been with, ever since he disappeared precisely because he is accused of being a party to two crimes. The first was the cheating for May, 2004. The second was the cover-up to save the President in the wake of the “Hello, Garci” tapes’ appearance.
Should Mr. Garcillano choose, instead, to stick to a Palace-prepared script, he will accomplish only the perpetuation of the twisted view that a president’s pleasure, whether electoral or criminal, is the only law in town. He will therefore leave himself wide open to every means the citizenry can find to compel him to produce what he doesn’t want to reveal –the truth. Mr. Garcillano must tell all –or lose all. He must come clean as to why in the tapes, his conversations with Mrs. Arroyo match the results in the places they discussed (places where Mrs. Arroyo “won”). He must open up his bank accounts to expose the paper and money trail. He must decide to risk all by throwing himself at the mercy of his countrymen, rather than lose all –reputation, peace of mind, even his life- by continuing to serve or be held hostage by Mrs. Arroyo. For once in his life, he must do what is right.
The truth, and only the truth, Garci, can set you free. The Black & White Movement will work with zeal and determination with other citizen’s groups in determining what criminal cases can be filed against Mr. Garcillano now that he has resurfaced. Since the Palace has closed the avenue available to put legal closure to this case, we will challenge Mr. Garcillano's pronouncements before the courts, where he could suffer legal penalties if he fails to come forward with the truth. To lie is to invite consequences: prosecution for contempt of Congress; betrayal of the public trust; violations of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act; acts of direct bribery under the Penal Code and violations of the Omnibus Election Code. After all, as Mrs. Arroyo’s allies so love to say, “The law is harsh, but it is the law.”