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Former Comelec chief Abalos also detained

MANILA – The Pasay City court hearing the electoral sabotage case of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has also charged former Commission on Elections chair Benjamin Abalos.

Because of the warrant of arrest against him, Abalos surrendered to the court last Tuesday (December 13). He is now detained at the Southern Police District in Taguig City.

Aside from Abalos, those charged with electoral sabotage were former North Cotabato provincial election supervisor Yogie Martirizar, and former Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) officer Capt. Peter Reyes.

Facing the same charges as the former President who is detained at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, Abalos is accused of rigging the 2007 polls to favor the senatorial candidates of the administration. Abalos allegedly ordered Comelec officials to ensure a 12-0 sweep in favor of Arroyo’s senatorial candidates.

Judge Jesus Mupas of Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112 ordered the arrest of Abalos after finding probable cause against him and dismissing a defense motion questioning the findings of a joint panel of the Department of Justice and the Comelec.

Abalos’ lawyers have filed two motions for house arrest and request for bail.

Abalos has resigned from his post as Comelec chairman in October 2007 after serving as its head since 2002. He was accused of receiving bribes for brokering the aborted National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China.