Ombudsman opposes Pichay’s bid to dismiss charges
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - September 30, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan should dismiss the petition of Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay to junk the charges filed against him in connection with the alleged anomalous release of P1.5 million to sponsor a chess tournament when he was chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), according to the Office of the Ombudsman.

“The prosecution presented evidence to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt... It is respectfully prayed that the instant demurrer to evidence be denied for lack of merit,” the prosecution panel said in an opposition paper filed before the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division.

The prosecution opposed Pichay’ demurrer filed earlier this month for violation of Section 7 (a) of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The case stemmed from LWUA’s release of a grant to the National Chess Federation of the Philippines for a chess tournament called ”2nd Chairman Prospero Pichay Jr. Cup International Chess Championship” in August 2010. He was the NCFP president at the time.

Pichay said the prosecution failed to present any evidence showing conflict of interest.

 He claimed there was “no proof” that he earned or gained pecuniary benefit from the sponsorship given to NCFP, adding that the sponsorship was a collective decision of the LWUA board.

However, the prosecution said Pichay’s participation or the lack thereof in the release of the sponsorship grant is immaterial to the case.

“In this case, not only was accused Pichay then the president of the NCFP and that the tournament itself was named after his honor... The LWUA board of trustees, of which he was the acting chairperson, approved and released P1,500,000 as post-event sponsorship for the... sports event. He had everthing to gain therein,” the ombudsman said.

Pichay; Wilfredo Feleo, former LWUA deputy acting administrator, and Emmanuel Malicdem, former LWUA senior deputy administrator, are facing another graft case in connection with the alleged anomaly.

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