Embattled Philippines Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos called up a press conference at his Mandaluyong residence on Oct. 1 to announce his immediate resignation from public office. With him were his wife, children and grandchildren, close relatives and political supporters, who all expressed moral support to him as he answered a flurry of questions from the tri-media.
With his immediate resignation, the impeachment complain initiated by at least three political personalities in Congress would now be swept under the rug. Nobody exactly knew if it was a timely strategy on the part of the Abalos camp to pre-empt the move so as not to further jeopardize the forthcoming barangay elections on Oct. 29. With him now as a free man, he could surely face his detractors and those who maligned his personality.
According to him, he would file perjury case against former Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri, now secretary of the Commission on Higher Education, for lying under oath. Abalos said that Neri linked him to the ZTE broadband scandal by accusing the former Comelec chair as the one who allegedly bribed Neri for "200" when both of them were on a golf ride in Wack-wack Subdivision. Abalos vehemently denied the accusations against him. Likewise, Abalos is hell bent on filing criminal charges against Joey de Venecia III, a businessman and son of House Speaker Jose de Venecia from his first wife. The younger de Venecia pointed to Abalos as the one who had offered him $10 million in bribed money just to keep mum on the secret multi-million dollar deal with a Chinese broadband company.
But Senator Rodolfo Biazon said that Abalos is not yet off the hook, His resignation would not mean that he can’t be called anymore to shed more light on the anomalous ZTE broadband deal, whose contract is nowhere to be found. Biazon added that Abalos could not serve a state witness so that he can elaborate further as to who is the "mystery man" behind the ZTE broadband deal that is now suspended by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo purportedly to quiet things down after a severe turmoil in the political midst.
To some political observers, what Abalos did was right rather than wait for Congress to impeach him. Now, all he could do is perhaps to shed more light on the deal. However, it will all depend as to whether the former Comelec chair is brave enough to divulge who pressured him to intervene in the said multi-million dollar broadband deal, knowing that he should be attending instead to problems now affecting the Commission on Elections. Had the deal not been unearthed, it could have been another pain in the asses for most Filipinos, particularly the future generations, who will be paying the huge debts that were pocketed by unscrupulous public officials, who still hanker for more money even if their pockets are already bursting at the seams. It’s good to hear that there are still other honest public officials who don’t want to sell their principles at the expense of the Filipino people.