MANILA — The Sandiganbayan 6th Division denied Andal Ampatuan Jr.'s motion regarding his involvement as a private individual who owned a gasoline station which was used by the provincial government formerly led by his late father.
In the decision of the court promulgated on Jan. 11, 2023, Andal Jr.’s motion for leave to file "demurrer to evidence" was denied for lack of merit.
The court, however, said that as provided under the Rules of Court, Andal Jr. may still file a demurrer to evidence, which could lead to the dismissal of cases, without leave of court.
But without leave of court, an accused waives the right to present evidence if the demurrer is denied and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence of the prosecution.
The court likewise denied the motions for leave filed by Andal Jr.’s co-accused Samsudin Sema and Omar Camsa.
“Accused Sema and Camsa, and accused Ampatuan are given five days from receipt of this resolution to file their manifestation, by personal filing or registered mail, and electronically, to inform the court whether they are submitting their respective demurrers to evidence without leave of court,” the court said in the resolution penned by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez, with the concurrence of Associate Justice Karl Miranda and Kevin Narce Vivero.
The said cases involved 21 counts of violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for the provincial government's purchase of fuel and lubricants amounting to P238.3 million from Andal Jr's Petro gasoline station when his father was provincial governor from 2001 to 2008.
According to the cases filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2018, there was allegedly no public bidding done on the transactions between the provincial government and the gas station of Andal, Jr., who is currently in prison for the Maguindanao massacre.
“After examining the prosecution’s evidence and the parties’ arguments, it appears that granting accused Sema and Camsa, and accused Ampatuan leave to file their respective demurrers to evidence will merely cause delay in the proceedings,” the court said.