Abalos seeks dismissal of graft case over vehicle purchase

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 14 2016 05:57 PM

MANILA - Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chief Benjamin Abalos Sr. is seeking the dismissal of his graft case over the allegedly anomalous purchase of vehicles.

In a motion to quash, Abalos said the Office of the Ombudsman violated his right to speedy trial after taking eight years to conclude its investigation.

Abalos is accused of giving unwarranted benefit to Toyota Pasong Tamo Inc. when he was Comelec chief in 2003. He allegedly approved the purchase of two units of Toyota Revo VX 200 without public bidding.

Instead, the procurement was made through canvassing or shopping. Both vehicles amounted to P1.711 million.

Abalos said fact-finding investigations before the complaint was drafted in 2008. However, the case was only filed last October 2016. 

He was only asked to submit a counter-affidavit in 2014.

"There were no special circumstances to justify the Ombudsman's delay in conducting its preliminary investigation. The delay of over eight years could also not be attributed to Abalos," his motion read.

"Because of the lapse of time, Abalos himself could not recall with clarity the events that allegedly happened in 2003, and makes it extremely difficult for him to assemble his witnesses."

Abalos, 82, said he "should be allowed to lead a relatively tranquil life in his twilight years," free from the strain, anxiety, and distress of trial.

"But the peace of mind that he longs for is now being unfairly denied by Ombudsman, who through its own fault, took an unreasonably long eight years to conclude the preliminary investigation of his case," the motion read.

"Because of this case, Abalos is again subjected to the ordeals of trial and to an uncertain future, causing him and his family, great stress and agony."