Court acquits Abalos

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A PASAY City judge acquitted on Monday former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. of two counts of electoral sabotage charges in connection with the alleged poll fraud during the 2007 elections.

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In a nine-page decision, Judge Jesus Mupas of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 112 found Abalos not guilty of two counts of electoral sabotage after the prosecution failed to prove that there was conspiracy to rig the 2007 poll.

Mupas said the existence of conspiracy against Abalos in particular cannot be established beyond reasonable doubt.

The judge also cited the absence of any clear and convincing evidence to prove the connection of Abalos to his accusers.

North Cotabato election officer Yogie Martirizar implicated Abalos in the alleged conspiracy to manipulate the poll.

According to Martirizar, the election results in the province were allegedly manipulated to favor the so-called “Team Unity” the senatorial bets of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now the Representative of the 2nd congressional district of Pampanga. She is currently under hospital arrest on charges also of electoral sabotage. Mrs. Arroyo is also facing plunder complaint at the Sandiganbayan.

In her testimony, Martirizar said Abalos met her and other election supervisors and regional election directors in Davao City and asked them to make the administration bets win the polls.

The former Comelec chief denied Martirizar’s allegations, saying he did not even know her.

Mupas’ decision cleared Abalos of all election charges filed against him by the Comelec.

In October last year, Judge Eugenio Dela Cruz of the Pasay City RTC Branch 117 cleared Abalos of 11 counts of electoral sabotage also in relation to the alleged cheating in 2007 poll.

In that case, Abalos was accused of manipulating election results to ensure a 12-0 sweep of the Team Unity.

Abalos said his acquittal was God’s will and way so that he could finally be with his family.

He said that from the start, he was confident that he will get fair decision.

”Ever since, I’m very confident. When you have done nothing wrong you have to fear nobody,” Abalos said.

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