Resigned RP Polls Chief To File Charges Against Accusers

October 1, 2007 at 9:46 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 01, 2007) – The lawyer of resigned Filipino elections chief on Monday announced they will file charges against the accuser of Benjamin Abalos Sr.

Abalos resigned on Monday after being dragged into the scandal involving a $329 million proposed national broadband deal with Chinese ZTE Corp.

Lawyer Gabby Villareal said his client has prepared perjury and damage suits against former Economic Planning Secy. Romulo Neri and another suit for damages against the Jose De Venecia lll.

He said the suits will be filed in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday.

“I am resigning the chairmanship of the Comelec (Commission on Elections) effective immediately,” he said in a prepared statement to the press, adding that “it is not an admission of guilt for any wrongdoing.”

De Venecia accused Abalos of bribing him $10 million to back out put from the broadband deal which ZTE was also trying to win. De Venecia’s company, Amsterdam Holdings Incorporated, was also bidding on the project.

Neri, on the other hand, told a senate investigation, that he was allegedly offered “200” by Abalos. He said he regarded the 200 as P200 million for a favorable recommendation of the broadband deal with ZTE Corp.

Now that he has resigned, Abalos said he is able to defend himself more freely without aspersions cast on either President Gloria Arroyo, who appointed him as Comelec chairman.

“I still have four months until I am supposed to retire but I don’t have to wait for that. My family has suffered too much for the vicious, maliciously concocted attacks on my person and our privacy,” he said.

The Philippine News Agency has released the full text (references in Tagalog language deleted) of Abalos’ resignation.

“It has been almost a week since I appeared at the Senate Committees investigating the NBN Project. I did so against the advice of my counsel and closest of friends, driven by what I expected would be the inherent fairness of a Senate inquiry and the statesmanship of our Senators.

I was sorely mistaken. I was not treated fairly. My declarations were limited to only those that my interrogators wanted to hear.

In these few days of reflection and consultation I’ve had with my family and closest friends, I have come to the painful determination that the time has come to separate my persons from the office I now occupy, and the institution I head.

I am resigning the chairmanship of the Comelec effective immediately.

Let not my detractors feast on this declaration. I am not admitting guilt for any wrongdoing. Neither am I giving up on my crusade to clear my name and reputation.

I made this decision to spare the Comelec from the vicious, maliciously concocted attacks on my person. On the 29th of this month, we will have another election. It is my intention that with resignation today, I shall have detached the Comelec from the controversy in which my persons is currently embroiled.

In the same way, my resignation should dispel the claims of my detractors that I am dangling so-called ‘political debts’ dispensed when I was supposedly ‘king’ during election period as a shield to fend off moves to oust me from office.

And finally, my resignation negates the accusation that this Administration is out to protect me and my incumbency.

Forty years ago, I entered public service fired with the ideals of promoting the welfare of our people and placing public interest above mine at all times.

It is for this very reason that I have resigned, subordinating my personal interest in completing the last few months of my term to the higher public interest of saving Congress from engaging in a complicated and long-drawn out impeachment process that would inevitably take its toll on the nation.

I take this opportunity to thank my colleagues in the government for the mentoring, the assistance and the comfort they have given me in my years in public service. Their thoughts and goodwill have become the founding elements of the wisdom that I bear as I return to private life.

I wish to thank likewise, my family, friends and most especially the people of Mandaluyong. I thank them for bearing with me, for the aid and comfort they have given me through all these years, particularly during these trying times.

I must repeat, however, that I have not given up the fight. Having rid myself of the impression of using my office for personal ends and the burden of keeping my office and the Comelec away from the vicious attacks on my person, I am all the more determined to carry on my crusade to clear my name and reputation and exposing the lies and malicious claims thrown at me.

As I bow out of public service, I find comfort in the thought that at the end of even the longest of nights, the dawn will break. With the grace of the Almighty, I am confident that I shall see you once again, head unbowed, at daybreak.

Thank you very much.” (Mindanao Examiner)

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