Arroyo camp challenges partiality of poll probe

Posted on November 04, 2011

THE CAMP of the Arroyos yesterday questioned the impartiality of a panel probing alleged fraud in past elections.

“If this committee proceeds with the preliminary investigation, our client’s right to procedural process will be violated,” Artemio Tuquero, Jr., counsel of former first gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” T. Arroyo said on the sidelines of the initial preliminary investigation conducted at the Justice department.

“This committee is investigating a complaint that is owned by a team under the supervision and control of the Comelec (Commission on Elections) and the Department of Justice,” he added.

The probe panel did not categorically state its comment on alleged impartiality, but in an interview on the sidelines of the event, Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano, who chairs the joint committee, said: “This is not the proper venue to challenge the propriety of our composition. [They should file] before the Supreme Court.”

During the course of the preliminary investigation, copies of the complaint and the findings of the fact-finding team that investigated the poll fraud case involving former poll chairman Benjamin S. Abalos, Sr. were distributed to the counsels representing the defendants of two cases -- the first filed by the fact-finding team against Mr. Abalos and the second filed by Senator Aquilino Martin “Koko” L. Pimentel III against former president now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The investigation committee required the defendants to submit their counteraffidavits on or before Nov. 14.

Should the parties concerned fail to submit their counteraffidavits, Mr. Arellano said “we will resolve the case based on the evidence submitted by the complainant and the fact-finding team.”