Press Release
September 3, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today reiterated his demand for the resignation of Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos for committing acts of impropriety that have eroded his credibility and contributed to the people's loss of trust in the poll body.

Pimentel said the continued stay of Abalos as head of the Comelec has become untenable and bereft of any moral ground in the wake of his latest indiscretion - his alleged lobbying for the approval of the $329 million contract for the national broadband network (NBN) on behalf of the owners and executives of China's ZTE Corp. who turned out to be his friends and golfing partners.

He said the proof of Abalos' wrongdoing came from his own admission that his trips of China were paid for by the ZTE officials and that he arranged their meeting with Finance Secretary Margarito Teves to discuss the NBN project proposal of the telecommunications firm.

"Chairman Abalos should resign as the only honorable way for a constitutional official like him who has committed all these shameful acts. He should not pretend to be a dumb who does not know the institutional damage he has been causing to the Comelec. It's time for him to go," Pimentel said.

Pimentel said that although there are more than sufficient grounds to impeach Abalos, he does not think that course of action will prosper because of the strong possibility that it will be blocked by administration allies in the House of Representatives many of whom were indebted to him one way or another.

He said the impeachable offenses committed by Abalos included his failure to prevent the massive fraud that marred the 2004 presidential election as shown in the "Hello Garci" scandal, his involvement in the anomalous P1.3 billion poll computerization contract with MegaPacific which was voided by the Supreme Court and his complicity in the wholesale cheating and fabrication of the senatorial results in Maguindanao and other areas in the 2007 elections as shown by the "kid's glove" treatment of notorious election supervisor Lintang Bedol to ensure the victory of Team Unity senatorial bet Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Pimentel recalled that Abalos had compromised his independence when he was caught in the company of the Zubiris during a dinner party in a restaurant at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel while the disputed Maguindanao votes were still being canvassed by the Comelec.

While admitting that he met with the Zubiris at the restaurant, Abalos denied that his presence there indicated that he was being partial to Migz Zubiri in the fight for the 12th senatorial slot with Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III of the Genuine Opposition.

"The problem with Abalos is that he is behaving as if he does not know - or he is simply impervious - to the damaging implications of his scandalous actions," Pimentel said.

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