Ex-Iloilo solon fails to convince Sandiganbayan to dismiss PDAF graft case

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2019 05:09 PM

MANILA- The Sandiganbayan has denied the motion to quash filed by former Iloilo 5th District Rep. Rolex Suplico which seeks the dismissal of his graft case involving the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund in 2007.

The anti-graft court did not agree with the argument of Suplico that his constitutional right to the speedy disposition of his case was violated as it took the Office of the Ombudsman 8 years and 7 months of investigation.

Government prosecutors however stated in their opposition to the motion that the Supreme Court decision on Cagang vs. Sandiganbayan did not include the fact-finding investigation period in the entire length of disposition of a case.

The prosecution maintained that a period of 4 years and 7 months of preliminary investigation is not “vexatious, capricious, nor oppressive.”

“The perceived delay in this case cannot be characterized as vexatious which, in its legal connotation, suggests an act which is willful and without reasonable cause, for the purpose of annoying or embarrassing another or one lacking justification and intended to harass," the court said in the resolution promulgated on Jan. 15, 2019.

"Neither can it be depicted as oppressive which is an unjust or cruel exercise of power or authority nor can it be described as capricious action which means willful and unreasoning,” it added.

The resolution was penned by Division Chairperson Rafael Lagos, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcegea and Maryann Corpus-Manalac.

Suplico is facing one count of graft for the release of P14.7 million PDAF funds in 2007 without public bidding to AARON Foundation, which did not have a business permit.

Suplico had also said in his motion to quash that there was forum shopping on his case involving the Visayas and Manila branches of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office and the Field Investigation Office, respectively.

The court noted however in the resolution that the two cases involve two different sub-sections of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and different sets of accused individuals.

“A comparison of the two sets of cases clearly reveals that the parties involved in the PACPO case and FIO case are not identical. Neither the rights asserted and relief are sought the same,” the court said.

Suplico was supposed to be arraigned last Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, as ordered by the court, but it was cancelled as he just received a copy of the resolution of the court on that day.

Suplico also told the court that he will be filing a motion for reconsideration for a reversal of the resolution of the court.