Reinvestigation of graft cases vs 3 accused in 'pork' scam sought

by Reinir Padua, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 27 2014 11:58 AM | Updated as of Jul 27 2014 07:58 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct a reinvestigation of the case against three of the accused in the pork barrel fund scam.

The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division granted the motion of Laarni Uy, Rodrigo Galay and Hernani Ditchon to have the graft cases against them reinvestigated.

The three were among those accused along with Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in the graft charges in connection with the pork barrel fund scam.

In a resolution signed by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justices Alex Quiroz and Samuel Martires, the anti-graft court ordered the ombudsman to submit the results of its investigation within 30 days after receiving the order.

The three accused argued the ombudsman did not inform them that it had been conducting a preliminary investigation against them.

The court said it is a substantive right of the accused to have a preliminary investigation before being bound for trial and exposed to the risk of being jailed.

“To deny the accused the right to a preliminary investigation is to deprive him of the full measure of his right to due process,” the court said.

The ombudsman claimed it sent an order dated July 29, 2013 requiring the three accused to file their respective affidavits. Attached to the order were copies of the complaints, annexes and copies of the joint resolution and joint order from the ombudsman.

Government prosecutors said these were mailed to the office addresses of the three accused at the Agricultura Para sa Magbubukid Foundation, Inc. in Parañaque City and a Laguna office based on records from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Allegedly, all said mails returned with notation that ‘addresses are unknown’ and ‘addressee moved out’,” the court said.