Poll exec got P2M 'hush money'

By Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2012 03:59 PM | Updated as of Jul 06 2012 12:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former North Cotabato provincial election supervisor Yogi Martirizar admitted Wednesday she received a total of P2 million from the military's intelligence unit to keep silent about poll fraud in the 2007 polls.

In her testimony, Martirizar admitted to receiving and spending the money, but claims that this was given to her over 4 years in an effort to suppress the truth.

She said she has been living in fear of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) since 2007 because of their constant surveillance activities.

Martirizar also revealed that intelligence agents she was in touch with said the money came from Malacañang during the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

"Hindi siya ang gumawa ng sabotage, pinapirma lang siyang ng dokumento. Yung mga tao sa taas ang gumawa. Yung pera binigay para tumahimik sila. Di siya makalabas, di makapag hanap buhay. So that money is to preserve her silence," said Atty. Nena Santos, counsel of Martirizar.

Martirizar was again subjected to cross-examination by the defense as the bail hearing of former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos concludes today.

Martirizar is the prosecution's main witness in its electoral sabotage case against Abalos.

She claims to have been coerced by the former poll body head to submit erroneous results to the national board of canvassers favoring candidates from the administration party in the 2007 elections.

In their cross-examination, Abalos, who has been lawyering for himself, questioned the consistency of Martirizar's testimony.

Abalos argued that the information in the charges against him alleges that he and Martirizar worked together, which he says runs contradictory to Martirizar's recent claim that she was forced to do his bidding because of threats and coercion.

Abalos said Martirizar acted on her own and has in fact gained from her illegal transactions in 2007, allegedly receiving P2 million from the ISAFP.

"Sabi niya inutusan ko raw na dagdagan ang boto ng Biyaheng Pinoy partylist kung saan nominee ang kapatid ko. Dun sa original document na accurate daw, 93 ang boto. Pero nung pinalitan daw namin naging 82. Bakit ko naman babawasan boto ng kapatid ko?" Abalos said.

With the conclusion of Martirizar's testimony, the court has now directed the prosecution to submit a formal offer of evidence before the court.

A resolution on Abalos' petition for bail is expected within the month.