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Abalos sees dismissal of 2 more cases

/ 07:55 AM October 11, 2014
Former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

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

MANILA, Philippines—Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Benjamin Abalos on Friday expressed confidence that he will also be acquitted of the remaining two counts of electoral sabotage charges in relation to the alleged rigging of the election results in North Cotabato in 2007.

Appearing on Friday afternoon as a witness during the resumption of the trial to present the defense evidence, Abalos submitted a judicial affidavit containing his testimony to Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas.

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During cross examination, Abalos said his office immediately acted upon the discrepancy in the provincial certificates of canvass upon discovery and even issued a resolution based on the findings of the board.

He also said one of his coaccused in the case, identified as Capt. Peter Reyes, is “nonexistent” and “fictitious.”

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In an interview after the hearing, Abalos told reporters he is “happy and relieved” that he has been recently cleared of 11 counts of electoral sabotage, which was filed against him in 2012.

“When truth is on your side, you have nothing to fear,” he said.

Abalos was acquitted from the charge of tampering election results in South Cotabato during the 2007 elections. In a 48-page resolution, Judge Eugenia Dela Cruz of the Pasay RTC Branch 117 said the prosecution “failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt” Abalos’ involvement in the election result rigging.

The former Comelec chair was accused of conspiring with lawyer Lilian Radam, South Cotabato’s provincial election supervisor, to secure favorable results for the administration-backed Team Unity’s aspiring senators at that time.

But De la Cruz said Radam’s testimony “failed to prove the existence of conspiracy among the accused, but more importantly, was unable to establish the participation of accused Abalos in the commission of the crimes.”

After his acquittal from the 11 counts of electoral sabotage, Abalos said that as a lawyer, he believes he will also be acquitted in the two more counts being heard by the court. He also said the case is almost the same as the one she was acquitted of.

On Oct. 20, the prosecution is scheduled to file their comment on the formal offer of evidence submitted by Abalos’ camp on Friday.

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TAGS: Benjamin Abalos, Comelec, Commission on Elections, Jesus Mupas, North Cotabato, Pasay regional trial court, Peter Reyes, South Cotabato
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