Sandiganbayan denies move to re-arrest ex-lawmaker on plunder trial over PDAF scam

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2020 04:27 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 5th Division has denied a plea to have former Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives Party-list Rep. Edgar Valdez re-arrested in connection with his plunder case arising from the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

In a resolution promulgated January 9, 2020, the anti-graft court denied the prosecution's motion seeking an arrest warrant against Valdez and his co-accused Janet Lim Napoles as a consequence of the denial of their demurrers to evidence for the dismissal of their case.

Napoles is currently imprisoned at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City after her conviction in the separate plunder case involving Sen. Bong Revilla, also in connection with the fund diversion scam. 

The court noted that bail is the security given for the release of a person in custody to guarantee his appearance in court and that after Valdez posted bail, he religiously attended his hearings.

“Going to the substantive issues, Valdez correctly pointed out that there is no basis to recall the grant of bail,” the court said in the resolution penned by Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Rafael Lagos and Associate Justice Maryann Corpus-Mañalac.

The demurrers to evidence filed by Valdez and Napoles for the outright dismissal of their case following the presentation of prosecution evidence was denied by the court on August 28, 2019.

In their motion for the issuance of arrest warrants against Valdez and Napoles, the prosecution stressed that sufficient evidence was presented to establish the guilt of the two.

Valdez countered that the denial of the demurrer was a mere preliminary examination of the allegations of the prosecution.

In the information filed by former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales before the Sandiganbayan in 2015, Valdez supposedly pocketed P57 million in kickbacks from his PDAF through Napoles' fake non-government organizations.