Defense witnesses say Lintang Bedol innocent

By Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 21 2012 04:51 PM | Updated as of Jun 22 2012 12:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The bail hearing of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her co-accused Andal Ampatuan Sr. and Lintang Bedol continued at the Pasay Regional Trial court today.

This time, it was the turn of the defense to present their witnesses to prove that the evidence against their clients is weak.

Only the camp of Bedol opted to do so, producing three witnesses that insisted that the former Maguindanao provincial election supervisor was not involved in the alleged 2007 poll fraud.

"It was (former Maguinadanao Provincial Administrator Norie Unas) who gave the orders and arranged everything, not Bedol," said defense lawyer Reynaldo Prinsesa.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), however, does not buy the story of the witnesses, saying that Bedol, who was their boss, must've known about the cheating.

"How can that be? He is the provincial  election supervisor, and he does not know what is going on?" Atty. Esmeralda Ladra said.

The Comelec said the defense witnesses bolstered their case because they corroborated the testimony of Unas about the widespread cheating in Maguindanao.

Unas is accusing Arroyo of ordering the poll fraud in the province to favor administration senatorial candidates.