MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) is claiming victory for the discharge of former North Cotabato Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) Yogie Martirizar as co-accused in the electoral sabotage case against her former boss, ex-Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos.
Martirizar will now turn state witness against Abalos before the sala of Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas.
The DOJ pushed for Martirizar's discharge as co-accused with no less than Justice Sec. Leila De Lima stressing the importance of her testimony in pinning down the "big fish," Abalos. Martirizar has been under the custody of the department's Witness Protection Program (WPP) for months now.
"That's a very good development. To me, that's a victory for the WPP. Remember, kami ang nagpumilit dyan," De Lima said.
Martirizar pointed to Abalos as the one who allegedly directly ordered her and other PES to rig the 2007 mid-term elections in favor of the senatorial bets of the Arroyo administration. Abalos has repeatedly denied the allegation, claiming that Martirizar and former South Cotabato PES Lilian Radam are just "getting back" at him for ordering them charged for the same offense during his stint as Comelec chief.
De Lima criticized the Comelec in June for "not being keen" on pinning down Abalos by objecting to Martirizar and Radam's discharge as co-accused.