Abalos wants graft case dismissed
Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chief Benjamin Abalos Sr. has asked the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the graft case filed against him by the ombudsman over the allegedly anomalous purchase of vehicles in 2003.
In a motion to quash filed with the anti-graft court’s Sixth Division on Wednesday, Abalos said the Office of the Ombudsman violated his constitutional right to speedy trial after it took eight years to conclude the probe.
Abalos was accused of giving unwarranted benefit to Toyota Pasong Tamo Inc. when he was Comelec chairman.
He allegedly approved the purchase of two units of Toyota Revo VX 200 for P1.711 million without public bidding.
The procurement was reportedly made through canvassing or shopping.
The ombudsman filed the complaint for graft against Abalos in 2008.
“Clearly, the ombudsman violated the petitioner’s right to speedy disposition of the case when it took over eight years to file the complaint,” Abalos’ motion read.
Last September, the Sandiganbayan dismissed for lack of evidence the graft charges filed by the ombudsman against Abalos in connection with the botched $329-million National Broadband Network deal with China’s ZTE Corp.
Abalos’ co-accused, former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Miguel Arroyo, were also acquitted of the charges.
– Elizabeth Marcelo