MANILA - The case against former Justice Secretary Hernando "Nani" Perez in connection with the USD 2 million extortion complaint filed by former Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez has been dismissed.
In a 20-page decision penned by Justice Roland B. Jurado, the Sandiganbayan 5th division granted the demurrer to evidence requested by Perez and ordered the case of falsification of public documents case filed against him dismissed.
The court also ordered the lifting of the hold departure order issued against Perez dated April 29, 2008.
The case filed against Perez invoves his alleged willfull and unlawful falsification of his Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SALN) filed for the year 2001 when he failed to disclose his and/or his wife Rosario Perez's alleged bank deposit worth USD 1.7m.
In the demurrer to evidence filed by Perez, he claims his case should no longer proceed because "the prosecution admitted that the procedural requirements for the accrual of the case against him has not been followed and satisfied."
Perez also said, "both the testimonial and documentary evidence submitted by the prosecution to support the charge of falsification of public/official documents are inadequate."
According to the Perez, the failure of private complainant Mark Jimenez to appear before the court to testify coupled with his execution of an affidavit of desistance indicated that the case against Perez is unsustainable.
In opposing the demurrer to evidence, the prosecution maintained that it has proven all the elements of the offense.
However the court found that the documents as well as the testimonies produced by the prosecution are hearsay evidence. The court also found that "the prosecution was not able to prove the third element of the offense."
Therefore the court said, "there is merit in the claim of the accused that the prosecution failed to present competent or sufficient evidence against him to sustain the indictment or support a verdict of guilt."