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Philippines president cleared of fraud allegations by electoral official

[JURIST] Former Philippines election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano [Wikipedia profile] emerged from hiding Sunday to clear President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo [official website] from election fraud allegations. Garcillano has not been seen in public since June, when the opposition released recordings of conversations that claimed to be of Garcillano and Arroyo planning to fix the results of the May 2004 national elections. The allegations [JURIST news archive] claimed that Arroyo ordered Garcillano to rig the election results to give Arroyo a one million vote victory over the late Fernando Poe Jr. [BBC profile], a movie star who challenged and nearly defeated Arroyo. Garcillano pointed out that the conversation he had with Arroyo took place after the votes had been counted and Arroyo only inquired about why Arroyo's margin had decreased to 892,000. Immediately following the allegations, Arroyo apologized for speaking with an unnamed election official before the votes were tallied during last year’s elections, but Arroyo’s opposition still tried to unseat her in a failed impeachment attempt [JURIST report] and protests [BBC report]. Arroyo’s presidency nearly collapsed after the election fraud allegations because members of her cabinet resigned and called for Arroyo to resign as well. Reuters has more.

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