By Ferdinand Patinio

Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia (File photo)

MANILA – Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson George Erwin Garcia on Tuesday vehemently denied a lawmaker’s allegations that he owns multiple foreign bank accounts.

The poll body chief’s remarks came after Sagip Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta claimed that a Comelec official owns a total of 49 offshore accounts and properties abroad.

Marcoleta, in a press briefing, alleged that at least PHP1 billion worth of funds were transferred from South Korean-based banks to these accounts.

“Huwag na natin paikut ikutin. Ako po yung nire-refer doon. Natutuwa ako, napakadami ko daw foreign accounts. Sa totoo lang, wala ako kahit isang foreign account. Mapanunumpaan ko po ‘yan kahit saan (Let’s not beat around the bush. I am the one being referred to in these accusations. I am happy because they claimed I own so many foreign accounts. To be honest, I don’t have even a single foreign account. I can attest to that under oath anywhere),” Garcia said in a separate press conference.

The Comelec chief said he has received information about a demolition job against the poll body for the past two weeks.

“May presscon, may ganitong issues. Nung hindi effective, kailangan sirain ang Commission sa pamamagitan ng chairman (There was a press conference and issues were raised. When these did not prove effective, the Commission has to be destroyed by putting the chairman in a bad light),” he added.

On the other hand, Garcia said he already requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the allegations during the visit of its chief Jaime Santiago to the poll body’s office last week.

“Sa sulat sa NBI, nag-request ako baka pwede imbestigahan sino nagkakalat, kung totoo ang mga akusasyon laban sa akin, at nag-issue tayo ng waiver sa alleged accounts sa lahat ng nasa listahan. Kung akin yun, tingnan, buksan at alamin kung may tunay bang account, history ng account, at kung ano laman nun, kung gusto nila, kanila na laman nun (In my letter to the NBI, I have requested to investigate the purveyors, whether the accusations against me are true. I also issued a waiver on the alleged accounts being mentioned. If those really belong to me, they can open and check if these are real accounts, as well as look into its history, its contents. If they want, they can get its contents),” the Comelec chief added.

Garcia also admitted he only holds Japanese and South Korean visas.

He also refuted allegations that he owns properties in the United States, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

“Kahit kailan hindi pa ako nakakatapak sa US sa kasaysayan ng buhay ko. Napaka malisyoso nung sinabi sa presscon (I have never been to the US in my entire life. The things mentioned in the press conference are malicious),” Garcia said.

Meanwhile, the poll body chief called on Marcoleta to verify information before making accusations. (PNA)