Arroyo and company summoned by poll fraud probe team

from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.23

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was served two subpoenas by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the ongoing investigation on the alleged fraud during the 2004 and 2007 elections. The subpoenas were for the election sabotage charges filed by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and for violating the Omnibus Election Code as
recommended by the DOJ-Comelec joint panel that was tasked to investigate the election fraud case. Together with Arroyo, thirty-five (35) other people allegedly involved in the poll irregularities were also summoned.

As previously reported, Arroyo's counsel, Raul Lambino, said that the former president will file her counter-affidavit once she receives the subpoena.

The former first couple’s names were mentioned in the election fraud complaint filed by Sen. Pimentel. He cited that the previous administration schemed to ensure the victory of the twelve Team Unity candidates in Mindanao in 2007. The complaint was based on the affidavits submitted by the former Comelec election supervisor in Mindanao during the 2007 polls.

Former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, who was among the respondents in the case, criticized the Comelec for being a “puppet” of the administration and for becoming a component of the joint panel that is currently investigating the poll irregularities. In a statement, Ferdinand Topacio, Mike Arroyo’s counsel, said Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes, Jr. should have “opposed this latest assault on the
integrity and independence of the Comelec.”

Arroyo’s camp also censured the palace’s move to reinstate Mike Arroyo in the government watchlist as such act is “most cruel and inhuman.” Topacio described the watchlist order as a deprivation of moral support from the family for the former president. The watchlist will prevent Mike Arroyo to go abroad to watch over his wife as she is treated for her ailment. Topacio decried the inclusion of Mike Arroyo in the watchlist as "there is lack of evidence" against him.

The other respondents who were also summoned in relation to the case were former Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos Jr., former Comelec commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, former presidential political adviser Gabriel Claudio, former Justice Secretary and Team Unity lawyer Alberto Agra, and former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr., among others. Abalos, in his previous appearances before members of the media, has denied the allegations.   (Various news sources)