Press Release
July 14, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said Chairman Benjamin Abalos and other top officials of the Commission on Elections are invoking a reason that is without credibility in the public eyes when they ignored the Ombudsman hearing on the fraudulent P1.3 billion election automation project,.

Pimentel debunked the argument of Chairman Abalos that the Office of the Ombudsman has no power to investigate constitutional officials like him who could be removed from office only by impeachment.

That defense is ridiculous and unacceptable. They may use all kinds of legal defense, but credibility cannot be defended by a supposed legality alone. What is needed here is the trust of the people and that they do not have, he said.

Pimentel said this legal issue is bound to be elevated to the Supreme Court for it to be resolved. But he said this is ludicrous because it was the Supreme Court that had precisely ordered the Ombudsman to investigate the criminal culpability of Comelec officials and other individuals who were involved in awarding the poll modernization contract that was voided by the court for being tainted with anomalies.

He said Abalos and other Comelec commissioners could not argue that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over them because they had already participated in the proceedings of the Ombudsman related to the case since the high court order referred the case to the anti-graft body in 2004.

Pimentel cited American jurisprudence that constitutional officials, below the president and justices of the Supreme Court, can be investigated and criminally charged even before they can be impeached by the legislature.

He said what is more important is not the insistence of constitutional officials that they enjoy immunity from suit but the principle that nobody is above the law.

News Latest News Feed