Abalos denies accusing Pasay judge of bribery
Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. yesterday denied accusing Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 117 Presiding Judge Jesus Mupas of bribery when he asked for the latter’s inhibition from hearing the election sabotage case filed against him.
In a statement, Abalos said he had only expressed apprehension about Mupas’ impartiality.
“We did not accuse Judge Mupas of anything,” Abalos’ counsel Brigido Dulay said.
He said his client only wanted to make sure that his case will be handled ‘‘fairly and impartially.”
It was earlier reported that the Abalos camp accused the judge of bribery, prompting the former poll chief to ask for his inhibition.
The accusation angered the judge who then issued a show-cause order asking Abalos why he should not be cited for contempt for accusing Mupas of bribery.
But Dulay said they did not make any statement directly accusing Mupas of bribery, contrary to published reports. Thus, he said there was no basis to charge Abalos for contempt.
The former poll chief asked for Mupas’s inhibition after alleged emissaries of the judge asked for P100 million on two separate occasions in exchange for Abalos’ exoneration, prompting the latter to file the motion to inhibit.
“We have no way of confirming the claims of the alleged emissaries so we opted to ask Judge Mupas to inhibit from the case to dispel any doubts or suspicions,” said Dulay.
During last Friday’s hearing, Abalos testified that before a warrant was issued by Mupas for his arrest, a certain “Attorney Mercado” called and introduced herself as an emissary of Mupas and that she had a message from the judge.
Abalos then agreed to meet her at Dusit Hotel, where Mercado said that Mupas wanted P100 million from him in exchange for his exoneration.
The former Comelec chair further testified that he received several more calls from Mercado after he walked out of that meeting. Later, an “Atty. Jojo Desiderio” called him and asked to meet with him because he allegedly had a message from the judge, Abalos said.
During their meeting, Desiderio allegedly asked for P50 million for him to receive a favorable resolution on his motion for bail and another P50 million to be cleared of the charges.