MANILA - Former Nueva Ecija 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Umali has asked the Sandiganbayan 2nd Division to dismiss his graft cases over alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund through fake non-government organizations linked to plunder convict Janet Lim Napoles.
In his motion to dismiss for violation of the right to speedy disposition of cases, Umali said the charges against him stemmed from the filing of a complaint by his political rival Edward Thomas Joson in 2008, which dragged on in the Office of the Ombudsman until 2015.
In 2016, then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found probable cause to indict Umali, and charges were formally filed before the Sandiganbayan on April 26 this year.
“In the herein case, the original complaint filed by Joson on June 2, 2008 was made to sleep for more than 7 years until it was resurrected in the form of another complaint by the Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Ombudsman filed its own complaint on August 7, 2015,” Umali’s lawyer Atty. Jessica Vitug-Jurado said in the motion.
The 7 cases of Umali allegedly involved Napoles-linked NGOs Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. and Samahan ng mga Manininda ng Prutas sa Gabi, Inc.
Umali cited the decision of the Supreme Court in Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan, a landmark case on inordinate delay involving criminal information which were “made to sleep” from 1974 to 1979 or a period of 5 years.
“Considering that the inordinate delay suffered by accused Umali in the conduct of the preliminary investigation herein is far longer that that suffered in the landmark case of Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan, it is respectfully submitted that the ruling of the Supreme Court therein should likewise be applied in the present case,” Vitug-Jurado said.