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Sandigan junks Echiverri’s bid to dismiss graft raps

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan has denied the petition of former Caloocan City mayor Enrico Echiverri to dismiss his graft case in connection with an allegedly anomalous P1.9-million drainage project in 2011.

In a 10-page resolution promulgated on April 20, the anti-graft court’s Third Division found no merit in Echiverri’s motion for the dismissal of the case.

“After a judicious review of the arguments raised by the defendant, the court finds no cogent reason to reverse its earlier finding that probable cause exists for the purpose of issuing a warrant for his arrest,” read the resolution penned by Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.

Echiverri and two other defendants, former city accountant Edna Centeno and budget officer Jesusa Garcia, had posted bail after the Sandiganbayan issued warrants for their arrest.

In its March 10 ruling, the court found sufficient evidence to proceed with the trial.

Echiverri, Centeno and Garcia are facing charges of violating Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. 

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Centeno and Garcia were also charged with falsification of public documents.

The cases stemmed from the alleged anomalous awarding of a P1.962-million contract to Golden 3T Construction for a drainage improvement project in Barangay 179.

The Office of the Ombudsman said the deal was awarded without authorization and budget allocation from the city council as provided under the Local Government Code.

State prosecutors said Centeno and Garcia falsified an allotment and obligation slip to make it appear that the city council allocated funding for the project.

Echiverri is facing six more graft cases in other divisions of the Sandiganbayan over allegedly anomalous drainage projects in several villages in Caloocan during his term as mayor.

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