Ex-LRTA chief allowed to file demurrer to dismiss graft case over janitorial services contract

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2019 12:33 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 5th Division has allowed former Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) administrator Melquiades Robles to file a demurrer to evidence for the dismissal of his graft case involving a supposedly anomalous janitorial contract in 2009.

The anti-graft court granted the motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence filed by Robles and his co-accused Marilou Liscano, Elmo Stephen Triste, Eduardo Abiva, Nicolas Ombao, Juliet Labisto, Roger Vano, Maynard Tolosa, Dennis Francisco, Federico Canar, Evelyn Macalino and Lilia Diaz.

The court noted that based on a “judicious evaluation” of the documentary and testimonial evidence of the prosecution, there is “sufficient basis to grant leave for the movants to file their respective demurrers.”

A demurrer to evidence, when granted by the court, results in the the dismissal of the case and eventual acquittal of the accused based on insufficiency of prosecution evidence.

“Accused-movants are given a non-extendible period of 10 days from receipt hereof within which to file their respective demurrers to evidence. The prosecution is given the same period of 10 days from receipt of the last pleading, within which to file its comment/ opposition thereto,” the court said in a resolution dated Sept. 9.

The resolution was signed by Division Chairperson Rafael Lagos and Associate Justices Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Maryann Corpus Mañalac.

The case stems from the janitorial service contract of LRTA with a joint venture of COMM Builders and Technology Philippines Corp. with a monthly amount of P3,373,808.51 for the deployment of 321 janitors.

The number of deployed janitors, however, was decreased to 219, allegedly causing undue injury to the government in the amount of P1.072 million per month or a total of P12.864 million for one year. 

The court noted that after the submission of the prosecution and defense of their pleadings, the incident shall be deemed submitted for resolution.