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Election exec tells of rigging of votes in 2007

Former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

A former provincial election supervisor on Thursday told a regional trial court in Pasay City that former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos gave her an ornate wooden box containing P50,000 in December 2006 as a prelude to orders to rig the results of the 2007 senatorial elections.

But it was only in April 2007 that Abalos told election supervisors the plan to rig the polls in favor of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Team Unity senatorial slate, said Yogie Martirizar, a former acting provincial election supervisor in North Cotabato.

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“He met me and other provincial election supervisors and regional election directors in Davao City to ask us to make Team Unity win the polls,” Martirizar said.

Abalos denied Martirizar’s testimony.

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“Of course they are lies. It’s easy to say those things if, for example, anyone will be hanged or is facing a serious lawsuit. They will easily accuse others of wrongdoing just to be spared,” Abalos told reporters after the hearing.

In her testimony, Martirizar said that on election day, she was made to follow the “12-0 instructions” in favor of Team Unity or her life would be in danger, as then regional elections director Michael Abas was keeping close watch.

However, after the polls, she was given the instruction to make it 8-4, as the 12-0 was statistically improbable.

Her testimony was cut short when Abraham Espejo, counsel for Abalos, asked that the hearings be continued next week as he had to attend worship services. Espejo is a noted member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo.

Sought for comment, Espejo said Martirizar’s testimony has proven nothing significant in relation to Abalos.

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TAGS: 2007 senatorial elections, Benjamin Abalos, Comelec, electoral sabotage
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