HomeCommentaryRetired colonel preparing to remove Comelec brass

Retired colonel preparing to remove Comelec brass

Old soldiers don’t fade away. Not Col. Leonardo O. Odoño.

After decades of combating communist rebels, Moro separatists, and bandits, the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) ’64 graduate longed for a quiet retirement with family.

That was not to be. The squalor of slums and official corruption bothered him. This wasn’t the peace and prosperity he risked his life for countless times.

In Nov. 2022, Odoño, 80, decided to help fellow retiree Gen. Eliseo Rio exact electoral justice. Rio, ex-Comelec commissioner Gus Lagman, and former Finance Executives Institute president Franklin Ysaac had just petitioned the Supreme Court to compel the poll body to release the vote counting machines’ transmission logs.

Odoño believes that voters have a right to such logs as proof of accurate ballot count and that the Truth and Transparency petitioners, TNT Trio, were doing right.

More than 125 PMA retirees, among them former AFP chiefs-of-staff and service commanders, backed Odoño’s pleas for the transmission logs. Comelec instead gave “worthless reception logs”, Odoño reported.

Last July 23 Odoño spoke before the Global Transparency and Transformation Advocates Network.

- Newsletter -


“After a yearlong search for the truth about the anomalous 2022 elections, Gen. Eliseo Rio found direct evidence that Smartmatic, not the Filipino people, ‘elected’ Mr. Marcos, in conspiracy with Comelec. Given that, I say Mr. Marcos is an illegitimate ‘president’. No legal authority nor moral ascendancy to govern.

“In the one year, Mr. Marcos was in Malacañang what happened?

“(a) Independent news reporting has it that we have a criminal syndicate masquerading as the government.

“(b) Pork barrels, illegalized by the Supreme Court, are back. Congressmen take up to 50 percent cut from infrastructure projects.

“(c) The illegitimate president and his cabinet secretaries had hundred-millions pesos audit-free, unneeded intelligence funds.

“(d) Smuggling and illegal drugs returned. The Speaker stopped the House hearing on onion smuggling and hoarding that brought the price to P150 per kilo, when the First Lady’s brother was named in the first and only hearing as a partner of the Chinese smuggler.

“(e) Our national debt reached P13.7 trillion at end-Jan. 2023. Inflation hit 6.1 percent.

“(f) Rice, which Mr. Marcos budol-budoled Filipinos with P20 a kilo, was at P50.

“(g) This uncaring ‘commander-in-chief’ announced huge cuts in military pension, including General Eli’s and mine, to avert ‘looming fiscal crisis’.

“Tanong ni General Magalong, PMA ‘82, Baguio City mayor who will lead our anti-corruption campaign with PMA grads at the fore: ‘Tayong sundalo handang mamatay para sa bayan. Bakit yung Tongressmen at ibang kawatan ayaw bitawan ang bilyon-bilyong pork barrel at intel funds?

“Why have our people come to this misery?

“Our corrupted system and Comelec make difficult the election of deserving, competent Filipinos – those with a moral compass to do good for our people, not themselves; those with vision and capacity to bring peace, growth, and prosperity; those with courage, conviction and will to reform our decadent society, politics, and economy.

“They can’t be elected; they have no money to buy votes.

“Winners have resources to buy votes and pay off Smartmatic-Comelec. They steal to recover election expenses and prepare bigger election war chests. Down with political dynasties! Down with the political elite that controls elections, government, and the economy!

“Four months of waiting was futile. TNT Trio couldn’t obtain from Comelec any proof of transmission of questionable 20 million-plus votes in only one hour from precinct VCMs to Comelec’s Transparency Server.

“TNT Trio petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to prevent telcos from disposing of 2022 election data. ‘Let me take on the Comelec myself,’ I suggested to General Eli, so they can focus on their Supreme Court case.

“On Nov. 28, 2022, I requested Comelec for the same proof of transmission of the 20 million-plus votes. I invoked my constitutional right of access to information of public concern from an agency. I reminded Comelec that failure to act within 15 days, as provided by law, would violate my right. I warned Commissioners that I’d file an impeachment complaint in Congress if they disrespect my right.

“Thrice in follow-up requests I reiterated my right, and impeachment if they violate it. Commissioners ignored those letters.

“In Mar. 2023, four months after I sent my letters, all without Comelec’s response, I said enough is enough. I sent a final demand.

“On Mar. 20 Chairman George Garcia asked me to take delivery of transmission logs on Mar. 23. On Mar. 23 morning he announced releasing of transmission logs to me that afternoon. Transmission logs are vital evidence for us. General Eli, who came with me, noticed right away that the documents were reception logs.

“Deception logs, I call them. Comelec deceived the public and me. What it released were reception logs that we don’t need in our case buildup and which we didn’t ask for.

“Comelec didn’t give us any transmission log for the 20 million-plus votes because, as General Eli showed, no transmissions were made by precinct VCMs. Fake votes were pre-programmed by Smartmatic-Comelec and transmitted illegally through a private network.

“I’m writing the Articles of Impeachment against the commissioners – for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. They violated their constitutional mandate to ensure honest, fair, transparent elections.

“A lawyer edited my draft, pro bono, for sufficiency of form and substance. We finalized the Articles in mid-May. I then searched for a congressman to endorse my complaint.

“With Congress co-opted by the ruling party, and only three Makabayan party-list congressmen considering themselves the Opposition, I knew it won’t be a walk in the park. My friend Father Flavie referred me to Makabayan leader ex-congressman Neri Colmenares.

“TNT Trio have joined me as co-complainants. We see the endorsement happening after the illegitimate president’s State of the Nation, then the filing a week later. The earliest would be mid-August.

My personal mission is not done though ….” (Continuation: Wed., Aug. 9, 2023)

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