Sandiganbayan says prima facie evidence appears to exist vs. ex-Muntinlupa mayor

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2023 04:36 PM

The Sandiganbayan building in Quezon City on February 19, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
The Sandiganbayan building in Quezon City on February 19, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File


MANILA — The Sandiganbayan 2nd Division said there appears to be prima facie evidence against former Muntinlupa City mayor Aldrin San Pedro in his graft case involving the P97.5 million purchase of firetrucks and a ladder from 2008 to 2009. 

“A prima facie case is a cause of action that is sufficiently established by a party’s evidence to justify a verdict in his favor, provided such evidence is not successfully rebutted by the other party,” the court said.

In the decision of the court promulgated on January 24, 2023, the motions for leave to file demurrer to evidence of San Pedro as well as that of his co-accused Angel Palmiery, were denied by the court. 

When a demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of court, the accused waives his or her right to present evidence and the case is submitted for judgment. 

“The court finds that the testimonial and documentary evidence presented by the prosecution appear to be prima facie sufficient for conviction of the accused of the crime charged in the information, unless successfully contradicted by defense evidence,” the court said in the decision penned by Division Chairperson Oscar Herrera, Jr., with the concurrence of Associate Justices Edgardo Caldona and Arthur Malabaguio. 

In the information filed by the Ombudsman, San Pedro allegedly conspired with Palmiery, the general manager of Palmer-Asia, Inc. in the supposedly anomalous purchase of three firetrucks and one aerial ladder. 

The court noted that the prosecution has so far presented witnesses as well as pieces of evidence against San Pedro and Palmiery which pertain to, among others, advance payments being made even before the delivery of the vehicles. 

The court also noted that the local government was already paying the monthly principal amortization and interest even before the delivery of the vehicles. 

The transfer of ownership of the firetrucks through the execution of a deed of sale and the transfer of registration was only made in 2012 and the ladder in 2014, even if the actual sale transpired in January 2009.