Pasay court resets Abalos’ Feb. 13 arraignment to March 26
MANILA, Philippines — The Pasay City regional trial court Branch 112 on Friday postponed the arraignment of former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos set for February 13.
In Friday’s hearing, Judge Jesus Mupas instead gave the Comelec five days to comment on the motion to quash filed by Abalos.
The Pasay court also ordered the Comelec to comment within 10 days on Abalos’ motion to set his bail petition for hearing.
Abalos arraignment was moved from February 13 to March 26.
In his motion to quash, Abalos said the electoral sabotage against him should be dismissed because the Sandiganbayan, not the Pasay court, has the jurisdiction to try and hear the case since the offense charged was allegedly committed “in relation to his office” while Abalos was Comelec chairman. The lawyers of Abalos also filed last week a motion to set the bail petition of Abalos for trial because the evidence against him were not strong.
Comelec lawyers objected to the motions filed by Abalos, saying there were too many motions filed and that they were inconsistent with each other.
Abalos’ lawyers, however, disputed the claims by the Comelec.
“As an accused, former Coomelec chairman Abalos, has every right to avail of all the legal remedies allowed by law and the rules of procedure. That is part of due process”, says lawyer Brigido Dulay, counsel for Chairman Abalos.
Dulay adds, “The Pasay RTC can hear and decide on the bail petition of Chairman Abalos whatever its ruling may be on our request to dismiss the case. If the Pasay RTC does not dismiss the case, then the bail hearing continues. If it dismisses the electoral sabotage case in favor of the Sandiganbayan, then the bail hearing will be terminated. So there is no inconsistency.”
Pasay RTC Branch 117 also postponed Abalos’ arraignment for 11 counts of electoral sabotage.
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