MANILA - Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. is finally off the hook from his two graft cases at the Sandiganbayan after government prosecutors failed to file petitions for certiorari questioning the dismissal of the cases stemming from the purchase of a government vehicle in 2003.
The Sandiganbayan 5th Division ruled that the periods for government prosecutors to file appeals under Rules 45 and 65 of the Rules of Court covering the filing of petitions for certiorari before the Supreme Court have already lapsed.
On June 4, 2018, the anti-graft court dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution on the dismissal of Baguilat’s cases after his right to speedy disposition of the cases were found to have been violated.
The court noted the Supreme Court decision on People vs. Sandiganbayan, Acot et al recognizing Rules 45 and 65 as separate remedies involving the filing of petitions for certiorari.
“However, the issue of whether or not a petition under Rule 45 or Rule 65 is the proper remedy has become irrelevant here, considering that to date, the prosecution has not filed any of such petition. The record shows that the period of fifteen days (Rule 45) and sixty days (Rule 65) to file any of such petitions had already lapsed,” the court said in its resolution dated August 10, 2018.
The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Maryann Corpus-Mañalac, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Rafael Lagos and Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega.
Baguilat had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman over his purchase of a P900,000 Isuzu Trooper Wagon without public bidding when he was Ifugao governor.
He cited inordinate delay of almost eight years before the cases were filed by the Ombudsman at the Sandiganbayan.
Because the matter has become moot and academic due to the lapsed period for a petition for certiorai, the court denied the partial motion for reconsideration of the prosecution on the dismissal of the cases but not on the lifting of the hold departure order and the release of cash and travel bonds of Baguilat.
“Wherefore, the court refuses to favorably act on the partial motion for reconsideration, for being moot and academic,” the court said.