Sandigan drops case vs ex-DENR exec over delays

Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2017 - 12:05am

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan has dismissed charges against a former official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources due to inordinate delays in the prosecution of the case.

A recent resolution by the anti-graft court’s Special Second Division granted Mario Roño’s motion to dismiss the case against him. Roño is a former undersecretary for international commitment and local government affairs.

He was charged with two counts of violating Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code (failure of accountable officer to render accounts) for his failure to settle P104,238 in cash advances he received in 1999 and 2000.

In a resolution signed by Associate Justice Samuel Martires, the Sandiganbayan said the inordinate delay violated Roño’s right to the speedy disposition of cases.

The anti-graft court added that the Office of the Ombudsman does not have any acceptable justification for the delay in the investigation of the complaint against Roño.

Court records show that the ombudsman filed the formal complaint against Roño on Sept. 26, 2011 and not on Feb. 14, 2014, as the prosecution claimed. From this date up to the filing of the information before the court, it meant the ombudsman took four years, eight months and 26 days to complete the preliminary investigation.

Roño, in his motion, said it took seven years and four months before the case was filed in court.

The Sandiganbayan ordered that the bail bond he posted be returned to him and lifted the hold departure order against him.

In its comment, the prosecution said the ombudsman took only two years, four months and four days to resolve the complaint against him.



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