Philippines: Koko hits ‘squid tactics’ of fired Cotabato poll exec

Jun. 12, 2007

MANILA — Genuine Opposition senatorial candidate Aquilino Koko Pimentel III today accused dismissed South Cotabato election supervisor Lilian Radam of resorting to squid tactics by claiming that he tried to bribe her in connection with the senatorial vote count in the province.

Pimentel said Radam is trying to get back at him by concocting the bribery yarn after he filed an electoral sabotage case against her for her involvement in the illegal padding of votes for certain Team Unity senatorial candidates in the May 14 elections.

He said Radams allegation that he tried to bribe him to alter the senatorial results in his favor is preposterous because he has been uncompromising in fighting electoral fraud since his father, Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., became a prime victim of dagdag-bawas scam in the 1995 senatorial contest.

Pimentel expressed dismay why Radams unfounded allegation was played up in the media despite its total lack of credibility.

The story was based on a statement supposedly coming from her camp that was devoid of any verifiable data. It was not even a sworn statement, and as such she can always disown it. It did not mention who was the person who actually made the bribe offer, and where and when the purported incident took place, he said.

Pimentel said there was also no video clip to prove that the statement really came from her.

I believe this is part of a well-orchestrated propaganda campaign to discredit me in the face of the still unresolved question on who, between me and Team Unity candidate Juan Miguel Zubiri, really won the 12th senatorial seat, he said.

The young Pimentel said Radams denial that no tampering of the senatorial tally in South Cotabato was committed was belied by the decision of the National Board of Canvassers to subtract the fraudulent votes credited to Zubiri and other TU senatorial bets.

He also said two members of the three-man provincial board of canvassers have admitted that Radam, the PBC chairman was responsible for the tampering of the provincial certificate of canvass in South Cotabato.

According to Pimentel, the two members of the PBCs have confessed that Radam made them sign a blank COC form a day before she finalized and submitted this election document.

He welcomed the report of South Cotabato Governor Daisy Fuentes that at least five election officers and provincial government employees have agreed to testify against Radam and two other unidentified Comelec employees as the ones who manipulated the senatorial tally in the province.

Gov. Fuentes identified two of the witnesses as provincial budget officer Bernardita Vallar and South Cotabato schools superintendent Adelfa Espartero.

Pimentel also dared Radam, who has been relieved of her post by the Comelec, to come out in hiding to substantiate her allegation of bribery against him.

Pimentel chided two administration congressmen who reacted to the irresponsible news report of an unsworn statement just a letter left by unidentified people with local radio stations in South Cotabato.

Lilian Radam is the respondent in 12 electoral sabotage cases I filed against her. And now she is saying my camp approached her for dagdag-bawas giving no details, no name, date, amount, etcs. I fought electoral fraud since 1995. Why should I try it now and in a place where I am a sure winner? he said.

He said he received helped from the Antoninos and from the local PDP-Laban Chapter in South Cotabato.

I have also not heard of Radam until after the COC of South Cotabato was submitted at the PICC where she systematically padded votes of Team Unity candidates, including Zubiri (to the tune of 77,000 votes). My evidence against her is documentary. Her evidence against me is her word.

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