The Commission on Elections will pursue the 2007 poll fraud case even after the so-called “Hello Garci” scandal’s five-year prescription period for the filing of the cases had expired.
“While we can no longer go after (former president Gloria) Arroyo and other poll officials accused of the 2004 poll fraud, we will pursue the case against people involved in the 2007 election manipulations,” Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said.
Brillantes admitted that the death of a key witness in the 2007 electoral sabotage case, Norie K. Unas, an assistant to the Maguindanao governor who claimed to have heard Mrs. Arroyo give the direct order during a meeting at Malacanang, had the case hitting a snag.
“Naghahanap kami ng ibang witness at si dating Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Betol ay gustong maging witness,” Brillantes told Manila Standard.
“Betol seems to be hesitant but he is willing to testify,” Brillantes said.
Also included in the charge sheet is former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos.
Brillantes said that Arroyo ordered Datu Andal S. Ampatuan, the governor of the province of Maguindanao, to manipulate the election results in his area to assure the victory of the 12 senatorial election candidates in her political party.