Benjamin Abalos, former Commission on Elections chairman and paragon of integrity, has accused Justice Secretary Leila De Lima of harboring criminals.
By harboring criminals, of course, Abalos means putting two witnesses who tagged him in alleged poll fraud in 2007 under the Witness Protection Program. He says former Comelec election supervisors Lilian Suan-Radam and Yogie Martiriza were placed under witness protection prematurely.
The two lawyers came out this week saying Abalos gave them orders through Comelec regional director Michael Abas to make sure administration candidates won in their region. De Lima has put them in the Witness Protection Program while their testimonies are being evaluated.
Radam has been charged with electoral sabotage and Abalos said the Department of Justice has to ask for permission from the court before giving her witness protection.
“Hindi ko maintindihan what is happening. Itong dalawang ito ang sa ngayon ay inamin nilang nagkasala sila, inamin nilang tumanggap sila ng pera (I don’t understand ano ang nangyayari, these two have admitted breaking the law),” Abalos said.
Under the Witness Protection, Security, and Benefit Act, the DOJ has to petition the court to discharge an accused so can testify as a state witness. De Lima says she has already ordered the Witness Protection Program to do that. The law says that once a petition is filed, “the Court shall order the discharge and exclusion of the said accused from the information.”
“Binabale-wala mo lang ang ating proseso (You are disregarding due process),” Abalos, who has repeatedly denied brokering shady multi-million peso deals in violation of bidding processes, said. He warned that De Lima will destroy the credibility of a joint DOJ-Comelec investigation into allegations of poll fraud while he was Comelec chairman.
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