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COMELEC OKs electoral sabotage vs Gloria Arroyo

MANILA, Philippines (Nov. 18, 2011) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) votes 5-2 as it recommends the filing an electoral sabotage case against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Comelec en banc recommended the filing of the charges against Mrs. Arroyo after the joint fact-finding committee of the Comelec and the Department of Justice found strong evidence to lodge the non-bailable case against the former president.

Aside from Mrs. Arroyo, Comelec en banc also found liable ex-Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. for electoral sabotage case filed by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.

The poll body, however, cleared former First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo due to insufficient evidence, according to Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes during an ambush interview with reporters.

The case was based on the alleged massive cheating of the results of the 2007 senatorial elections.

Those who voted for the filing of the electoral sabotage charges were Brillantes and commissioners Elias Yusoph, Rene Sarmiento, Augusto Lagman and Christian Robert Lim.

Two commissioners inhibited from voting. They were commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Armando Velasco.

Velasco said in a television interview that he decided to inhibit from the votation because he could not decide on the merits of the case as he has yet to read the recommendation of the joint panel in full.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, who represents Mr. Arroyo, said that the Comelec's recommendation is just part of a "grand plan" of Malacañang to railroad charges against the Arroyo couple.

Mr. Arroyo has filed a petition before the Supreme Court, asking for the nullification of the Comelec-DOJ panel's creation.

Pasay Regional Trial Court has been floated as the possible venue for the filing of charges that is expected to take place today. (From