MANILA - The Sandiganbayan has denied Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya's motion to quash 194 cases against him in connection with the alleged P900-million Malampaya fund scam.
Andaya earlier accused the Office of the Ombudsman of filing 194 “fatally defective” cases against him, saying it was a “giant leap in logic” to conclude that his signing of documents like Special Allotment Release Orders constituted elements of graft and malversation.
In a resolution promulgated March 6, the anti-graft court's third division junked Andaya's assertion for lack of merit.
“Jurisprudence instructs that it would be unfair to expect the prosecution to present all the evidence needed to secure the conviction of the accused at the time of the filing of the information against the latter,” read the decision.
Andaya is facing 97 counts of graft and 97 counts of malversation of public funds through falsification of documents for the alleged diversion of funds from the Malampaya natural gas plant in 2009 when he was still budget secretary.
The court stressed that in its August 2018 resolution, it already found that the prosecution properly alleged conspiracy as a mode of committing the offenses, and that details of its planning and preparation can be proven during trial.
“To be clear, jurisprudence teaches that in order for a person to be held a conspirator, it is not required that he or she participate in every detail of the execution of the crime, nor does he or she need to take part in every act thereof,” the court said.
Andaya’s motion to defer arraignment was considered moot because of the denial of his motion to quash, the court also said.
The decision was penned by Presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tan, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Ronald Moreno.