Ex-Muntinlupa mayor: Ombudsman bid to reinvestigate shows graft case weak
By Elizabeth Marcelo
“Accused strongly opposed the said motion on the ground that the request for re-investigation is clearly an admission that there is no sufficient basis for the prosecution to indict the Accused herein for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” San Pedro said in his nine-page supplemental motion to quash filed before the Sandiganbayan Second Division.
San Pedro was referring to the ombudsman prosecution team’s motion filed last November asking the court to defer his and the other respondents’ arraignment in order for the prosecution to conduct a re-investigation of the case.
“Clearly, it is an indication that the evidence of the prosecution are insufficient that is why they are asking for a re-investigation of the case. Such action should not be tolerated and allowed by this Honorable Court,” San Pedro said.
San Pedro and 11 other former officials of Muntinlupa City are facing a graft case over the allegedly anomalous purchase of 40,000 trolley bags in 2008 amounting to P22 million.
The bags, supposed to be distributed to the elementary students in the city’s public schools, were allegedly purchased from a private supplier without a public bidding required under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Graft probers further alleged that the procurement of the trolley bags was not included in the city’s 2008 Annual Procurement Plan.
‘Right to speedy trial’
In his supplement motion, San Pedro maintained that the case must be dismissed on the ground of the ombudsman’s supposed violation of his and other accused’s constitutional right to speedy trial.
San Pedro said the prosecution failed to provide a valid reason why it took the ombudsman more than three years to finish its preliminary investigation on the complaint filed against the respondents on May 8, 2012.
It was on November 4, 2015 when the ombudsman formally filed the case before the Sandiganbayan.
“Clearly, the period of more than three years was too long for a preliminary investigation…Moreover, considering that the crime in this case allegedly happened in February 2008, it is apparent that the right of the accused to speedy trial has been violated by the State, and as a consequence, the information in this case should be dismissed,” San Pedro said.
San Pedro said allowing a re-investigation of the case would only add to the “great and irreparable injury” caused by the ombudsman to the respondents and as it will result in further delays in the proceedings.
“Finally, the attempt by the prosecution in filing their Motion for Reinvestigation is a clear manifestation that the prosecution’s theory of the case is weak and not yet complete, hence prejudicial to the right of the accused and a violation of their right to due process and speedy disposition of cases,” San Pedro said.