Ex-North Cotabato lawmaker asks Sandiganbayan to dismiss 'pork' cases

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 21 2017 07:14 PM

MANILA - Former North Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Gregorio Ipong filed an omnibus motion to dismiss and quash his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) cases at the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division, arguing there was inordinate delay in the investigation of his cases, among other reasons. 

"Why it took the Ombudsman 10 years to file the instant information has not been rationally explained," Ipong said in the motion filed by his lawyer. 

Ipong's camp noted that the Supreme Court decision on Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan said that "a delay of close to three years cannot be deemed reasonable or justifiable in the light of the circumstance obtaining in the case at bar." 

The former lawmaker is facing one count of graft and one count of malversation of public funds after the Ombudsman accused him of misusing his P9.6-million pork barrel in April 2007 for non-existent projects of Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc., through the now-defunct Technology and Livelihood Resource Center. 

Ipong said the malversation case does not constitute an offense as the Commission on Audit's bidding rules were not yet in effect when AFPI was selected as the recipient of his PDAF.

Ipong also complained in his omnibus motion that the Ombudsman denied him of due process as the investigation was done by the Field Investigation Office of the Office Ombudsman which also filed the charges before the Sandiganbayan. 

"This is a classic case of the investigator, complainant, and judge being rolled into one," Ipong said in his motion. 

Ipong said the cases against him should be dismissed because his right to speedy trial, due process, and be informed of the charges against him were violated.