MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 2nd Division has dismissed the graft case involving former Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority General Manager Adelberto Yap due to the delay in the filing of the case.
The anti-graft court noted that it took the Office of the Ombudsman almost six years to elevate to court the complaint against Yap.
“...[T]he Court hereby grants the prayer in the Omnibus Motion filed by the accused for the dismissal of the instant case on the ground of violation of the Constitutional speedy disposition of cases. Accordingly, this case is hereby dismissed,” the court said in its resolution penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna, with the concurrence of Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. and Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi.
The court noted that the case involving Yap was simple and, thus, there is no justification for the delay.
“The instant case arose from a single transaction involving the purchase of one UHF/FM Repeater System amounting to P161,890.91, which would not even entail legal complexities nor involve voluminous records that would ultimately require an unreasonable length of time in resolving,” the court said.
“All told, it is evident that the constitutional rights of the accused to speedy disposition of the case has been violated due to the delay in the investigation conducted by the Ombudsman when it took almost six years from the filing of the complaint to conduct its reinvestigation until the filing of the instant case against accused,” it added.
The case against Yap started from a complaint filed by a certain Rogelio Yaun before the Office of the Ombudsman in Cebu City on May 11, 2006 and was “provisionally dismissed” by Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol on January 18, 2008.
The case only resurfaced on April 30, 2014 when the Field Investigation Office of the Ombudsman filed the complaint.
“Unfortunately, the Ombudsman did not offer any other plausible explanation for the delay other than alleging the fact-finding investigation phase should be included in reckoning whether or not the right to speedy disposition of the cases have been violated and stresses that the “power to investigate” by the Office of the Ombudsman includes both the fact-finding inquiry and the preliminary investigation proper,” the court said.