MANILA - For the fourth time, the Sandiganbayan cancelled the arraignment of Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay and the members of Gatchalian family for the cases involving the Local Water Utility Administration's (LWUA) illegal acquisition of thrift bank Express Savings Bank Inc. (ESBI) in 2009.
Pichay was supposed to enter his plea for graft and violation of the Manual of Regulations for Bank cases, and Rep. Weslie Gatchalian, sibling Kenneth, and parents Willian and Dee Hua for their graft cases.
The arraignment was postponed pending the resolution of the respective motions for reconsideration of the prosecution and defense panels on the Sandiganbayan's decision last October 2016.
In the October 2016 decision, the anti-graft court cleared the Gatchalians of malversation charges. However, their graft case was retained. Pichay's graft and violation of the MROB have also been retained, while his malversation case was dismissed.
The arraignment was moved to March 9, 2017.