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Two witnesses testified that they attended a "cheating workshop" to ensure the 2007 electoral victory of all twelve senatorial candidates under the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Magsaysay Mohammad and Saliao Amba told a Pasay City Regional Trial Court that both of them, together with 20 other Maguindanao election officers joined the workshop to fulfill the wishes of their boss, former Maguindanao provincial administrator Norie Unas.
Mohammad was the former election officer of Sultan Sabarongis while Amba was his counterpart in the municipality of Mamasapano, all in Maguindanao. The two witnesses were presented by the camp of former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol to bolster their arguments that he has nothing to with the alleged cheating in the province during the mid-term elections.
On Thursday, the Pasay court heard the petition to fix bail for former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Former Commission on Election (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. And former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. are Arroyo’s co-accused in the electoral-sabotage charge.
“Noong June 15 pinapunta kami ni Norie Unas sa capitol (Shariff Aguak) at pagdating namin dun sinabihan kami na mag-prepare kasi may darating daw na mga dokumento na pampalit sa mga nawawalang dokumento (election returns). Tapos bago kami umalis binigyan nya kami ng tig-lalabinlimang libong peso bawat isa,” Mohammad said in his hour-long testimony. (In June 15, Norie Unas told us to go to the capitol and upon arrival, we were told to prepare for forthcoming documents that will replace the missing election returns. Before we left, we were given P15,000 each.)
He said that they returned to the provincial capitol on June 16 where they were given the fake election returns. Unas told them that administration bets should win in their respective municipalities, citing his town as an example where the numbers of votes were padded.
Other election officers were summoned by Unas to attend another meeting in General Santos City on June 20, 2007 where they submitted the copies of the election returns, Mohammad said.
At this meeting, he said they were given P10,000 after having lunch at a resort where they were also told they can stay for free courtesy of Unas.
Amba for his part also pinned down Unas in his testimony adding that the fabrication of the election returns took place from June 16 to 18 after their meeting on June 15 with the latter in Shariff Aguak, the provincial capital of Maguindanao.
He said that before they fabricated the election results, administration candidate Chavit Singson was ranked number one in the election return but that his place was taken over by a fellow candidate, Juan Miguel Zubiri. InterAksyon.com