SC junks criminal raps vs ex-DOJ chief Perez, 3 others

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2014 12:41 PM | Updated as of Jan 07 2014 08:41 PM

MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) affirmed the dismissal of the robbery case against former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez and three others in connection with the latter's supposed 2-million dollar extortion attempt against former Manila congressman Mark Jimenez.

Voting 5-0, the high court, through Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, affirmed the Sandiganbayan ruling in junking the case due to the "inordinate delay" in the resolution of the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman, which ran for 5 years and 5 months.

The alleged bribery was supposedly "in consideration of accused Hernando S. Perez's desisting from pressuring Mark Jimenez to execute affidavits implicating target personalities involved in the plunder case against former President Joseph 'Erap' Estrada and in connection with the pending application of Mark Jimenez for admission into the Witness Protection Program of the government, over which transaction accused Hernando S.Perez had to intervene in his office capacity [as Justice Secretary] under the law, to the damage and prejudice of Mark Jimenez."

The issue stemmed from separate privilege speeches given by Jimenez and Wilfrido Villarama at the House of Representatives in 2002, revealing the alleged bribery.

In these speeches, Perez was tagged as the "2 Million Dollar Man."

"The Sandiganbayan did not commit grave abuse of discretion in finding that there had been an inordinate delay in the resolution against respondents of the charge...'

"Under jurisprudence, inordinate delay in resolving a criminal complaint, being violative of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process and to the speedy disposition of cases, warrants the dismissal of the criminal case," the high court said.

The high court pointed out that the Ombudsman took "an unusually long period of time" to investigate and rule on the criminal complaint.

The other accused were Rosario Perez, Ernest Escaler, and Ramon Arceo, Jr.