Case vs ex-mayor dismissed due to Ombudsman delays

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2017 05:11 PM

MANILA - Former Muntinlupa City mayor Aldrin San Pedro who was accused of graft by the Ombudsman for the allegedly anomalous purchase of trolley bags is now off the hook, thanks to the inordinate delay doctrine of the Supreme Court.

In a resolution signed by Sandiganbayan 2nd Division Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi, Oscar Herrera, and Lorifel Pahimna, the court dismissed the case, along with the denial of the request of the prosecution for a reinvestigation on the extent of participation of two other respondents in the case.

"Accordingly, the case against the accused is dismissed on the ground of violation of their constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases,” the court said.

San Pedro was accused by the prosecution of the anomalous procurement of trolley bags by the Muntinlupa City government in 2008.

The court noted that the Office of the Ombudsman received the complaint against San Pedro in 2012 and eventually found probable cause for the filing of the case in 2015. 

The respondents submitted a motion for reconsideration, but the Ombudsman still went ahead with the case and filed the charges before the Sandiganbayan also in 2015.

“As discussed in the case of Rafael Coscolluela vs. Sandiganbayan, it is the duty of the Ombudsman to act with reasonable dispatch on the cases entrusted to it, otherwise the passage of time in the conduct of the investigation may be prejudicial to the accused,” the court said. 

The court said that aside from delays in the past, it cannot grant the sixty days being asked by the prosecution as that would further violate the accused’s right to speedy disposition of their case.

“A careful perusal of the records of this case supports the conclusion that the prosecution has been remiss in its duty to prosecute the case with reasonable dispatch,” the court said.