Abalos bares move to clear 2 ex-Comelec execs of fraud


Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos on Tuesday lambasted a supposed plan of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to drop charges against two former election officials who had tagged his father, former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos, in election irregularities in 2007.

In a hastily called press briefing, the younger Abalos reacted strongly  to what he said were “A1 reports” that the Comelec was set to approve  a resolution dropping electoral fraud charges against former poll supervisors Susan Radam and Yogi Martirizar, who have applied to become state witnesses.

The two are coaccused with the elder Abalos, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and ex-election official Lintang Bedol in a case alleging they rigged election results in North and South Cotabato.

The mayor questioned the propriety of approving such a resolution, saying only the “least guilty” in a criminal case could apply as state witness.

He stressed that it was in fact his father, during his incumbency as Comelec chairman, who  ordered the filing of an electoral sabotage case against the two.

“Those two (former) Comelec officials were the ones who directly participated in the commission of the crime. Why should they be allowed to be state witnesses?” he lamented.

Abalos said Radam and Martirizar were both ordered arrested in 2007 by a Pasay City regional trial court over their purported role in election anomalies in Mindanao.

“They were fugitives from the law for five years. When they surfaced six months ago, it was only then that they started pointing to my father,” he said.

In their testimony before the joint investigating panel of the Comelec and the Department of Justice, Radam and Martirizar admitted tampering with the election results in Mindanao allegedly on orders of the elder Abalos. They also claimed receiving financial help from “military intelligence agents,” whom they described as their “handlers,” while they were in hiding.

Accompanied by his father’s lawyers, Abalos said some “well-meaning friends” had warned them on Sunday night that the Comelec might pass the resolution withdrawing the criminal information against Radam and Martirizar during its en banc session in Baguio City on Thursday.

Holding back tears, the mayor called on the seven election commissioners to “be guided by the law and your conscience” and spurn the alleged plot to prevent his 80-year-old father from posting bail.

“If this happens, this will be the height of injustice, cruelty and abuse of power. This is too much,” an emotional Abalos told reporters.

“This is hard for us. I beg the enlightened Comelec commissioners to use your conscience … My father is already 80 years old and his health is deteriorating. All we want is for him to be allowed to post bail.”

“What is certain is that the case against my father is crumbling right now and they will move heaven and earth just so my father will be persecuted,” he said.

Asked if the tip about the dropping of the charges against Radam and Martirizar came from a source within the election body, Abalos said: “What we have is ‘A1 information’ from our well-meaning friends.”

“I believe that what we got is very credible information. Maybe you can ask the Comelec about this,” he said. “As mayor of Mandaluyong and as a lawyer, I stand by my statement.”

Brigido Dulay, lawyer of the elder Abalos, maintained that Radam and Martirizar should still remain as accused even if they would be utilized as witnesses against the former Comelec chief.

“Being a state witness does not absolve anyone from criminal liability,” Dulay said.

Originally posted: 7:13 pm | Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YAU43R25CAHGNYPHE6HLAM3V6Y Benjamin

    umamin ka na burjer ben..isiwalat mo na lahat ng anomalyang niluto ninyo ng mag-asawang buwayang arroyo..matanda ka na..pwedeng magpatawad ang sambayanan…pero dapat may pag-amin at pag-ako ng pagkakamaling nagawa…..

  • joeldcndcn


  • Ka_Beesy

    linuluto ang kaso

  • http://twitter.com/wee_kender wee

    Abalos should be reminded that Radam and Martirizar were never the beneficiaries of the rigged election.

  • tedrodriguez

    hey  motherpacking benhur abalos you cant be mayor and a judge at the same time, i just hope your father will rot in jail

  • tedrodriguez

    so what if benjamin abalos is old, the law does not discriminate regardless of age, color, race, religion

    • http://twitter.com/wee_kender wee

      i agree. there are robbers and thieves in every age bracket!

    • CebuAnoNoyPi

      P*! this is the most appropriate statement i read today!
      pardon the word but i feel that juan de la cruz was made a fool when these persons were in power. yung tipong mahirap na nga tayo, ginawa pa tayong tanga!

  • to0

    Turning state witness is legal, and giving them clemency is part of it. So what is the problem. It is the previlege and right of the present Commissioner to choose which one will be accepted as State Witness. He hehee. Wether wether lang, bata! Noon kayo, ngayon sila. 

  • ddano

    Oo Ben Hur 80 yrs. old na tatay mo. So ilang taon siyang nagpayaman sa Comelec. Walang maniniwala sa iyo kahit anong tangi mo na nangurakot siya nung chairman siya.Walang nagiging Billionaire sa pagtitinda ng borjers. 

  • marcos_hitler_diktador_tuta

    Benhur Abalos, you said, “This is too much”?

    Realize that your father took from the Filipino people their vote, their will, their true wishes. These are the very reasons why the COMELEC was created, as a guardian of the freedom of suffrage.

    But what did your father do? No need to answer that. Your father is a cheat and a thief just like his boss GMA.

    The State is well within its rights to utilize them witnesses. The most guilty are Abalos and GMA who exercise control and supervision over these two.

    Isn’t it that you folks were clamoring for truth? For you said that truth will set us all free. Now lets ferret out the truth to set us all free. Except GMA and your father of course because truth will prove their guilt. 

    No, this is not too much. Your father’s and GMA’s crimes are odious, heinous and serious. They need to stay in prison for the rest of their lives.

    Let the people be free again!

  • marcos_hitler_diktador_tuta

    Bakit kaya wala sa showbiz ang mga Abalos? G’ling nila mag-artista e.

  • laguar

    So, what’s surprising about this Comelec move – didn’t the DOJ also consider having the Ampatuans as state winess and would have gone ahead with the idea had there not been protesting outcries from the survivors of the victims in the massacre?

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos