There’s compelling reason to probe 2004, 2007 poll fraud—Pimentel
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Friday said that there was a “compelling reason” now to reopen the Senate investigation into the allegations of electoral sabotage in 2004 and 2007 following the granting of bail to former Commission on Elections Benjamin Abalos.
“It seems like there is now a compelling reason to reopen the probe,” Pimentel said in a telephone interview with reporters.
He also expressed disappointment over the decision of Judge Jesus Mupas of the Pasay City regional trial court Branch 112, granting Abalos his temporary freedom on Friday.
“I’m saddened, frustrated… There is really a crime, there should be no debate on that. There is really a crime, the mere fact that I got cheated, that I won, I proved the cheating and the question now is who should be held liable and jailed for the crime done,” he said.
“If all of the big fish are granted bail, who was the mastermind?” Pimentel said.
Mupas also approved the petition for bail for former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the basis that there was weak evidence linking Arroyo to the alleged electoral fraud. However, Pimentel said that Abalos’ case was different adding that there were documentary evidence and first-hand accounts of witnesses proving the former Comelec chair’s involvement in the cheating.
He said that he wants to include in the Senate probe whether the Comelec and the Department of Justice, acting as prosecutors of the case, had shortcomings.
“Was the prosecution so weak that they were not able to prove to give the court strong evidence of guilt?” he asked.
He also wants to look into whether the court’s standards for determining a strong evidence is so high than the evidence presented against Abalos.
Mupas issued the ruling on Friday which allowed Abalos to post a P1 million bail bond. Mupas said that the prosecution failed to establish a strong evidence of guilt of Abalos hence the granting of bail.
Meanwhile, Pimentel said that he has yet to set the date for the reopening of the Senate invdestigation, saying he wanted senators to be involved in the discussion.
When asked if his re-election bid will get in the way of the re-opening of the Senate inquiry, Pimentel said: “This is not connected to the election of 2013. This is for finding out the truth.”
Pimentel lost to Miguel Zubiri during the 2007 senatorial elections but the latter resigned from his position last year due to the electoral protest lodged by Pimentel to the Commission on Elections.
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