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CGMA and Abalos: From one case to another

from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.25
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After her being on hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for electoral sabotage case in relation to the 2007 elections, the lawyers of former President and currently Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have resigned upon request of their client. Father and son lawyers Jose and Albert Flaminiano and Laurence Arroyo filed before Pasay RTC Judge Jesus Mupas a motion to withdraw as legal counsels of Rep. Arroyo. Only Atty. Benjamin Santos remains as counsel to represent Arroyo in the electoral sabotage case. CGMA requested the three lawyers to concentrate on the graft cases at the Sandiganbayan.

Meanwhile, Pasay RTC Judge Jesus Mupas issued a warrant of arrest against former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and his lawyer Brigido Dulay on charges of contempt. The presiding judge on the electoral sabotage case asked the respondents to explain why they should not be held in contempt for their accusations that the judge extorted money from them in relation to favorable decisions on the case. Abalos is currently detained at the Southern Police District headquarters in Taguig City. Abalos filed before the court several motions including inhibition of Judge Jesus Mupas, motion to bail and house arrest, which are yet to be resolved by the court.

Incidentally, CGMA and Abalos are also co-accused on two counts of graft case filed by Bayan Muna Party list Rep. Teddy Casiño in relation to the botched NBN-ZTE deal. The case is under the jurisdiction of Justice Gregory Ong of the Sandiganbayan.

Arroyo and Abalos are facing two counts of violations of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the $329-million National Broadbank Network- ZTE contract together with Abalos.

In a resolution, the Sandiganbayan issued a hold departure order against Arroyo and her co-accused in the graft case. This will prevent them from leaving the country without the court’s permission.
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