Sandigan won't junk 194 Malampaya cases; Andaya, Napoles to be arraigned

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2019 10:54 AM | Updated as of Jan 17 2019 06:15 PM

MANILA - House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr. and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles will be arraigned on Friday after the Sandiganbayan upheld its refusal to dismiss a total of 194 criminal cases in connection with the P900-million Malampaya fund scam.

In his motion for reconsideration, Andaya, who is accused in 97 cases of graft and 97 cases of malversation, insisted that the charges against him lacked details, such as how the conspiracy was committed, his particular acts in the alleged conspiracy, and his specific involvement on the supposed falsification of documents.

“To the mind of the court, the above matters need not be specifically alleged in the present informations because an information need only state the ultimate facts, or those facts which the expected evidence will support,” the court said in the resolution promulgated on January 8.

The resolution was penned by Presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparao Cabotaje-Tang, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Lorifel Pahimna.

The cases stemmed from the alleged irregular diversion of funds from the Malampaya natural gas project to relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by typhoons Ondoy and Paeng in 2009.

Andaya, who was then Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, allegedly released the funds through the Department of Agrarian Reform.

The money supposedly went to bogus non-government organizations controlled by Napoles, who was recently convicted of plunder in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Funds of former senator Bong Revilla.

The court also denied the motions for reconsideration filed by 8 other individuals, including former Agrarian Reform secretary and now Masui City, Lanao del Sur Mayor Nasser Pangandaman, as well as Napoles' children James Christopher and Jo Christine.

The anti-graft court insisted that the elements of graft and malversation were aptly alleged in the informations filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

“A plain reading will show that the acts and/or omissions complained of are alleged in plain, ordinary, and concise language. In fact, the specific participation of all the accused in the alleged Malampaya fund scam are outlined in detail in each of the informations in these cases,” the court said.