Comelec commissioners acted on conscience, evidence—official
MANILA, Philippines – “Each one acted on his conscience and appreciation of evidence,” Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said about the resolution of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to file charges against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Friday.
In a phone interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM, Sarmiento said that he voted in favor of filing charges because he saw there were clear reasons for doing so.
Five commissioners voted in favour of filing the electoral sabotage charges while two abstained.
“I have read the resolutions from the joint Comelec-DoJ panel and I have seen the affidavits of witnesses along with officials of Comelec and witnesses outside of Comelec, and I saw there was clear reason to file cases,” Sarmiento said.
He replied to claims by the Arroyo camp that the resolution was railroaded by saying all members of the Commission were lawyers and have experience in resolving cases.
“On my part, I have studied the case and I am convinced that charges should really be filed,” Sarmiento said.
He said that they called the special en banc session because it was “in the interest of justice and the fact that there is a manifest attempt to leave the country.”
“We have to resolve this issue right away,” Sarmiento said. “We will not deny [that we] factored the possibility of [Arroyo] leaving the country.”
Sarmiento enumerated two possibilities after the cases have been filed. First, is the judge will issue a hold departure order against Arroyo and second, is that the judge will conduct further hearings to determine whether an arrest warrant should be issued.
The electoral sabotage case was filed in the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112 shortly after the Comelec resolution and was raffled off to Judge Jesus Mupas.
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