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Sandigan upholds arrest order vs Faeldon

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Sandigan upholds arrest order vs Faeldon
In its 37-page resolution promulgated on Sept. 16, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division denied “for lack of merit” Faeldon’s urgent omnibus motion for the recall of the arrest warrant against him and the dismissal of his two counts of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) chief Nicanor Faeldon remains valid, following the recent junking of his motion to have his 2017 graft case dismissed.?

In its 37-page resolution promulgated on Sept. 16, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division denied “for lack of merit” Faeldon’s urgent omnibus motion for the recall of the arrest warrant against him and the dismissal of his two counts of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

?His graft case stems from the BOC’s release of P34 million worth of smuggled Vietnamese rice from the Port of Cagayan de Oro in 2017.

The complaint was filed before the ombudsman by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.?

Earlier, the Fifth Division set Faeldon’s bail at P90,000 for each count of the offense for a total of P180,000.?

A check with the graft court yesterday afternoon showed that Faeldon had not yet posted bail.

In its resolution, the Sandigan found no merit in Faeldon’s argument that the Office of the Ombudsman failed to specify his acts that constitute the alleged crime in the case information sheets.

It said the information sheet “must state only the relevant facts” and that “an allegation of manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence on the part of the accused is sufficient” for him to stand trial.

Faeldon also claimed that he had not violated any of the importation rules and processes and that the ombudsman failed to show his conspiracy with the other accused.

But the Fifth Division stated that these allegations “are evidentiary in nature and are a matter of defense that may only be passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits.”

“These criminal cases have yet to proceed to the trial stage. Therefore, accused Faeldon’s claim that the extent of the ultimate facts must be ‘proven to the point of moral certainty’ is misplaced at this juncture,” it added.

Lastly, the graft court gave no weight to Faeldon’s insistence that it must first wait for the resolution of his petition for certiorari filed before the Supreme Court, assailing the ombudsman’s resolution in 2019 finding probable cause to prosecute him.

“The records do not show that a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction has been issued arising from the filing of accused Faeldon’s petition for certiorari... Absent a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction, the Court shall proceed, as it does, with the present cases pursuant to Section 7, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,” the Fifth Division said.

Named as Faeldon’s co-accused in the case were BOC district collector Tomas Alcasid and CLTI corporate officers and board directors Lucio Roger Lim Jr., Ambrosio Ursal and Rowena Lim.

Court records showed the three have posted bail for their provisional liberty.

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