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Hello Garci scandal

"Hello Garci" refers to the alleged wiretapped conversations where vote rigging in the 2004 elections was discussed by, among others, a woman presumed to be President Arroyo and man presumed to be Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. Ironically, the controversy that nearly toppled the Arroyo administration started at the Palace, when Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye released CDs of the Hello Garci conversations on June 6, 2005. Days later, former NBI Deputy Director Samuel Ong presented what he claims to be the "mother of all tapes" of the wiretapped conversations. The revelation spawned House and Senate investigations, as well as calls for President Arroyo's resignation. The President was steadfast in her refusal to step down. She admitted talking to a COMELEC official during the canvassing period and apologized for her "lapse in judgment" in making such a call. However, she qualified that the conversations occurred after the votes had been counted, and she was careful not to name the Comelec official. Garcillano's whereabouts became unknown after the Hello Garci CDs came out; there had been rumors that he slipped out of the country. He resurfaced more than five months later, admitting that he had conversed with President Arroyo during the canvassing period--after the votes had been counted. He denied that President Arroyo instructed him to cheat in the 2004 elections. He had since appeared in House hearings on the wiretapping controversy.