DOJ-Comelec panel may end probe on electoral sabotage this month

November 14, 2011 11:30 pm 

By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

MANILA, Nov. 14 – The Joint Department of Justice-Commission on Elections (DOJ-Comelec) investigating committee on Monday said that their investigation into the alleged electoral sabotage committed during the 2007 senatorial elections may be terminated this month.

Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, head of the joint committee, said that within two to three weeks from today (Monday), they may issue a resolution on the electoral sabotage charges.

If in case there's a need for clarification, Arellano said, they would just call for a clarificatory hearing for the purpose.

Arellano also debunked accusations that they were railroading the hearing of the electoral sabotage charges against former President and now Pampanga (2nd District) Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her husband former First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo and 37 others.

Arellano said that they have given the 39 respondents the sufficient period of time within which to submit their respective counter-affidavits, however, they failed to do so.

The panel chair also said that they found no reason to grant the request of the Arroyos for an extension period to file their counter- affidavit.

Arellano said that the argument of the Arroyos that they had insufficient copy of the complaint was not valid in the sense that they had furnished them a complete copy of the complaint since the last hearing.

On the other hand, the camp of the Arroyos said that they would let the Supreme Court (SC) to rule on their case.

This was after the DOJ-Comelec investigating committee denied on Monday the request of the Arroyos to defer the ongoing preliminary investigation into the alleged electoral fraud committed during the 2007 elections.

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, the legal counsel of Mr. Mike Arroyo, said they should first be given a written copy of the resolution of the committee dismissing their motion.

Atty. Benjie Santos, the legal counsel of Mrs. Arroyo, agreed with the manifestation of Topacio.

Santos said that they could not submit their counter-affidavit such that they had not yet received the complete copies of the complaint against their client.

The committee insisted that they had given the documents required by the respondents.

The panel has set only until today (Monday) the period within which to submit the counter-affidavit, after which, the case will be deemed submitted for resolution. (PNA)

RMA/PTR/utb

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