Arroyo, Abalos et al to be charged for electoral sabotage

from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.22

The joint fact-finding team of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) recommended on October 20 the filing of charges against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, and several others, for electoral sabotage in connection with the 2007 elections. In a media briefing, members of the fact-finding team, tasked to gather and evaluate evidence regarding the alleged cheating in the 2004 and 2007 elections, submitted their report to DOJ secretary Leila De Lima, who said that the report is comprehensive enough to convene the preliminary investigation committee as early as October 24.

According to the report, Arroyo is being recommended to be charged "for giving direct instruction to manipulate the results of the  senatorial elections in Maguindanao by ordering [former Maguindanao] Governor Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr., to implement a 12-0 result in the Province of Maguindanao in favor of the Team Unity Senatorial candidates, and to alter or change the results if necessary."

Along with Arroyo, the following were recommended for preliminary investigation for electoral sabotage:

For alleged poll fraud in North and South Cotabato:
- former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, Jr.
- former Acting Regional Election Director for Region XII Michael Abas
- former Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) Region XII Regional Director Col. Reuben Basiao
- "Maj. Joey Leaban" of the ISAFP
- "Capt. Peter Reyes" of the ISAFP
- Atty. Jaime Paz, former chief-of-staff of Abalos
- Atty. Alberto Agra - Romy Dayday and Jeremy Javier of the Presidential Security Group (PSG)/ISAFP
- Atty. Lilian Suan-Radam, former provincial election supervisor (PES) for South Cotabato
- Atty. Yogie Martirizar, former provincial election supervisor for North Cotabato
For alleged poll fraud in Maguindanao:
- Andal Ampatuan, Sr.
- Benjamin Abalos
- former Comelec Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer
- former Maguindanao PES Lintang Bedol
- Norie Unas
- "Butch," a personnel of Unas
- elections officers (EO)/assistants Estelita Orbase, Elisa Gasmin, Elsa Atinen, Saliao Amba, Magsaysay Mohamad, Salonga Edzela, Ragah Ayunan, Susan Cabanban, Russam Mabang, Asuncion Corazon Reniedo, Nena Alid, Ma. Susan Albano, Rohaida Khalid, Araw Cao, Jeehan Nur, Alice Lim, Norijean Hangkal, Christina Roan Dalope, Maceda Abo
Others to be probed

There is lack of clear evidence so far though to also charge Arroyo's husband, former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, but further investigation has been recommended since he has been linked to the alleged poll cheating by several witnesses. Along with Mr. Arroyo, other personalities recommended for further investigation:
- Bong Serrano
- Salonga Edzela
- election assistant Gani Maliga
- members of the special provincial board of canvassers(SPBOC) of Maguindanao Attys. Emilio Santos, Manuel Lucero, and Dinah Valencia
- PES Faisal Tanjili
- regional election director (RED) Remlani Tambuang
- RED for ARMM Ray Sumalipao
- Boboy Magbutay
- "Pobe" from Caraga Region

(Sources: ABS-CBN News, PDI)