MANILA, Philippines (Dec 13, 2011)– Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos turned himself over Pasay City regional trial court (RTC) that issued the warrant for his arrest.
The Pasay City RTC Branch 112 had issued a warrant for the arrest of Abalos who faces charges of electoral sabotage having been tagged as one of the main players in the alleged rigging of the 2007 elections.
Earlier today, Selda Domingo, spokesperson of the Pasay City RTC, announced that the warrant of arrest was already being served by the police to Abalos.
Domingo said that the warrant of arrest was issued by the court after it denied Abalos's urgent motion for judicial determination of probable cause on the electoral sabotage case filed by the Comelec.
"Ang [arrest] order na inilabas ng korte ay sa motion ni Attorney Abalos na urgent motion for judicial determination of probable cause. It's a denial," the court spokesperson said.
She said that the police was expected to bring Abalos to the Southern Police District for detention. She added that the police may opt to present Abalos to the court today for booking.
But Abalos, accompanied by his son, Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos, left his residence in Mandaluyong City this morning and went straight to the Pasay City RTC Branch 112 to surrender before the warrant could be served.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Abalos said that his lawyers will file before the court a motion for the suspension of the service of warrant of arrest. He said his lawyers may also file several other pleadings.
He said that his lawyers will also ask the court for a temporary house arrest pending the resolution of the pleadings that they will file today and the coming days.
"Kung maibibigay sa atin ang house arrest, I will appreciate that very much," he said.
If the motion is denied, he said he would not be able to do anything but to "languish in jail."
He said that the knowledge that he could be arrested and hauled to jail anytime was "more than a physical torture."
Abalos is one of the co-accused of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the electoral sabotage case filed by the Comelec. The case is being heard by Judge Jesus Mupas of the Pasay City RTC Branch 112.
Mrs. Arroyo was initially put under house arrest at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City. She has been transferred to the state-owned Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
Last week, Judge Mupas also issued the warrants of arrest against three more respondents to the electoral sabotage case. They were Lilian Suan-Radam and Yogie Martirizar, former provincial election supervisors in South Cotabato and North Cotabato, respectively; and Capt. Peter Reyes of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
It was Radam and Martirizar who told the Department of Justice that Abalos ordered them to rig the results of the senatorial elections in 2007.
Abalos had repeatedly denied the allegation, saying that it was he who ordered the investigation and arrest of the two former election supervisors. (From Philstar.com)