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Sandigan affirms raps vs ex-Rizal governor over fertilizer scam

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has denied the motion of former Rizal governor Casimiro Ynares Jr. to dismiss the four graft cases filed against him in connection with the fertilizer fund scam.

In a 14-page resolution released yesterday, the anti-graft court’s third division said Ynares “failed to raise matters substantially plausible or compellingly persuasive” to warrant the dismissal of the charges.

The cases stemmed from the alleged purchase of liquid fertilizer amounting to P3.597 million in November 2004 and March 2005 without public bidding. The fertilizer was also reportedly overpriced by P3.237 million.

The court found no merit in the claim of Ynares and the other respondents that their constitutional right to speedy trial was violated.

Ynares and his co-accused said there is no justifiable reason for the Office of the Ombudsman to take more than 12 years to finish its investigation and file the cases.

However, the Sandiganbayan said there was no inordinate delay in the proceedings even though the time spent by the ombudsman in its fact-finding investigation was factored in.

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“The protection under the right to a speedy disposition of cases should not... deprive the government of its inherent prerogative in prosecuting criminal cases,” the ruling  penned by Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang read.

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