MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally asked the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to drop former North Cotabato Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) Yogie Martirizar as an accused in the electoral sabotage case pending before the trial court in connection with alleged vote-rigging in the 2007 mid-term elections.
In a 4-page motion it filed last April 25 through Assistant State Prosecutor Mari Elvira Herrera, Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Orlando Mariano and Prosecution Atty. Mark Roland Estepa, the DOJ sought Martirizar's discharge so she may turn state witness against former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos, who is among the accused in the said case.
The DOJ said Martirizar's testimony is crucial in pinning down Abalos because she can directly implicate the former Comelec chairman in the alleged poll fraud.
In an affidavit dated Sept. 6, 2011, Martirizar alleged that Abalos personally instructed her and other PES to rig election results in favor of the senatorial bets of the Arroyo administration's Team Unity.
The DOJ stressed that Martirizar qualifies as a state witness because she is not the most guilty among the accused.
The DOJ also said Martirizar is already under its Witness Protection Program (WPP), which, under Republic Act (RA) No. 6981, enables her to obtain immunity from criminal prosecution.
Abalos has vehemently denied Martirizar's allegations.
He claimed Martirizar, along with former South Cotabato PES Lilian Radam, was merely getting back at him for having been charged for alleged discrepancies in the certificates of canvass (COC) she submitted to the 2007 National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).