At top left is former Mayor/Congressman Bernardo Vergara, one of the accused in the criminal offense (violation of the Omnibus Election Code) for ballot tampering. At top right is the whistle blower-accuser Mr. Worthy Acosta. At bottom left is Mr. Ferdie Balanag, one of the accused for ballot tampering. At bottom right is the baseless and misleading Sunstar Headline dated May 30, 2015./Photos provided by RG
Sunstar Baguio on Vergara Ballot Theft/Tampering Presscon, False and Misleading – W. Acosta
June 6, 2015
Baguio City- It now appears that the Vergara and Balanag camp has broken its silence as they held a press conference on May 29, 2015 at the Dads Restaurant along Session Road, a restaurant owned by Gladys Vergara in the presence of some COMELEC officials etc…, to show that there was no such ballot tampering. However, instead of achieving the intended objective of portraying Vergara and Balanag as totally innocent and devoid of any involvement in the huge criminal accusations of whistle-blower Mr. Worthy Acosta, the reverse could have been the outcome and effect, as the presscon could have instead opened a so called hornet’s nest, confirming indeed that the ballot box was short of the supposed to be number of ballots.
Immediately, after the baseless Baguio Sunstar issue on May 30, 2015 with its banner – “COMELEC clears Bernie” on June 4, 2015 the consultant of this paper Mr. Freddie Farres sent an e-mail to the Sunstar Editor Ms. Mary Ann Cacdac requesting from her as to what could have been the basis for their headline banner stating that the COMELEC had cleared Bernie. Unfortunately, as of this writing (June 6) the e-mail inquiry has not yet been responded to by the Sunstar Editor In Chief.
Likewise, the whistleblower and accuser, Mr. Worthy Acosta got in touch with this reporter, and in our paper’s interest to personally hear his side, this reporter requested for a one-on-one interview with Mr. Acosta. Unfortunately, due to security concerns as Mr. Acosta is under the witness protection program, the interview was done on line, phone-in, and through email. Herewith are some of the excerpts of the interview:
Whistleblower& Accuser (Acosta) – “ First of all, I would want to state that as of the time of writing this e-mail, Ms. Fontanilla, Sunstar Reporter has not made any contact to me or my lawyer (who was present last Thursday on the Vergara sponsored pressscon at the Dad’s restaurant along Session Road) to get our side. I added her on Facebook, but until now she has not accepted my friend request.
“Their (Sunstar) Headline : ‘COMELEC clears Bernie’ is completely false and misleading, the investigation is still ongoing and there is no resolution nor dismissal issued by the COMELEC Law Department.
“Second: ‘COMELEC en Banc headed by Atty. Charlie Yap……’ There was no COMELEC en banc member present during the opening of the ballot box, the COMELEC en banc is composed of the commissioners and the COMELEC chairman. Atty. Charlie Yap is a part of the investigation panel of the COMELEC Law Department not the En Banc.
“On the ‘CONDITION OF THE BALLOT BOX’, if you were there during the opening, the statement of the one describing the ballot box was that the ballot box was slightly opened. I was in shock when I read that the ballot box was declared by Ms. Fontanilla as not tampered. There was not even a report by the COMELEC that says that the ballot box ‘was not tampered’. Actually, if you will read my affidavit, you can also see that, I only removed one plastic seal and not all. Because I would just be needing to lift a small part of the ballot box to get what is inside of the ballot box. And lastly the tape seems to be slightly tampered only because I tried to reseal it again (on my affidavit).
“The report (SUNSTAR) also says that there were 980 ballots there, 701 used and 280 other unused. This is only completely false!!! There were only 280 unused found and 300 plus used ballots found. Please see (COMELEC REPORT). This is because the other 300+ ballots were the ones that I got inside the ballot box.
“The camp of Vergara also rejoiced on the fact that the ballots found inside the ballot box was not tampered. OF COURSE! On my affidavit, the ballots that I got from the ballot box was the one instructed by Glenn Chong for me to tamper. Logically, the other ones left on the ballot boxes were not tampered.
“The camp of Vergara is clearly misleading the public. Let us stick with the allegations and not twist the story. ”
Junction Reporter (Sermi)– In your earlier comment you stated the following: “ The report (SUNSTAR) also says that there were 980 ballots there, 701 used and 280 other unused. This is only completely false!!! There were only 280 unused found and 300 plus used ballots found. Please see (COMELEC REPORT). This is because the other 300+ ballots were the one that I got inside the ballot box.”
Sir, you said that it is completely false, what is your basis for saying that it is only 280 unused found and 300 plus used ballots, you mentioned that it is in the COMELEC report? Can you kindly email to us a copy of the COMELEC report at wala kami nun?
Whistleblower& Accuser (Acosta) – “It was during the opening and inspection of the ballots, you can even ask Chuck Tinte (ABS-CBN TV Patrol Northern Luzon) who reported it last Saturday or Friday. I was not furnished by COMELEC but im sure of it. They are bragging that what was left on the ballot boxes were not tampered, I do not know why are they bragging about it when in fact nobody claimed that it was tampered. On my affidavit, it was the stolen ballots (one that I got from the CP 5 ballot box) that was tampered and not what was left inside.”
Junction Reporter (Sermi)– One thing puzzling us is sa dami-dami ng mga officials na pwede mo i-link, if we are to consider the denial of the Vergara camp, why did you link Vergara and Balanag and not some other politician etc…, what can you say about this ?
Whistleblower& Accuser (Acosta) – “Because it is the truth. I cannot link anyone who are not involved at the same time I cannot absolve someone involved.”
Junction Reporter (Sermi)- Sino po ang inyong lawyer, you stated in your email letter that he was present during the Baguio presscon of Vergara. Can you kindly email to us his cp number and email address?
Whistleblower& Accuser (Acosta) –”Atty. Francisco Sibayan ….”
Junction Reporter (Sermi)– In the Facebook releases of Balanag he posted cases of alleged estafa that you have been involved in. Can you give us an update on your alleged cases and any other info you feel you can share with us.
Whistleblower& Accuser (Acosta) – “I expected these things already. I have one case in Pasig and that has already been dismissed. They are the one accusing, they should be the one to prove this. Maraming alegasyon sakin, marami kasinungalingan. Pero inaasahan ko na ‘to. Siyempre credibilidad ko sisirain nila para di maniwala sakin ang tao pero ang ebidensya kakampi natin.”
In a related news report, at the May 29, 2015 TV Patrol Northern Luzon report by Mr. Chuck Tinte, ABS-CBN Northern Luzon Reporter – “Sa records ng COMELEC Baguio, pitong daan at isang balota ang laman ng ballot box na binuksan mula sa Precinct No. 5 sa Asin Road. Nang bilangin ang balota higit tatlong daan lang ito. Tumanggi munang mag-bigay ng pahayag ang COMELEC Baguio, pero sinabing maaaring sa ibang ballot box inilagay ng Board of Election Inspectors o BEI ang mga ballota. Sinubukan nga naming kunahan ng pahayag ang mga BEI pero tumanggi sila.” Further to this, in our interview with this paper’s Consultant and Executive Director of the Linis Gobyerno, Mr. Freddie Farres when we asked for his comment and reaction on the clearly misleading Sunstar Baguio Headline , he said “ ang mga binigyan ng reponsibilidad na magpatakbo ng isang pahayagan, dapat ay kanila itong seryosohin at hindi bale ng mahina ka magsulat o kahit na mali-mali pa ang spelling, grammar o tenses mo at yung mga pagkakamali na yun ay madaling pagpasensyahan. Ngunit ang pagsusulat ng report lalo na at headline story pa man din ay dapat na straight news at parating may factual basis at hindi imbento lamang. I am sure the papers Owner/Manager Mr. Peter Rey Bautista had nothing to do with this and I can just only hope that Mr. Bautista will not tolerate an obviously misleading and false report and likewise take the necessary sanctions against his paper’s editor in chief and reporter. As always, we call on the Vergara and Balanag camp to send in their reactions and comments on this on-going vital news of public interest. /Sermi Agus, The Junction Researcher and Reporter in coordination with Odell P. Aquino of UPLAND NEWS On-Line News Systems