Sandigan: Ex-PhlPost chief’s graft trial to proceed

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - October 15, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has ruled to proceed with the graft trial of former Philippine Postal Corp. (PhlPost) postmaster general Maria Josefina de la Cruz over the appointment of an unqualified individual to a high-rank post.

In a six-page resolution promulgated on Oct. 2, the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division denied De la Cruz’s four motions seeking to quash the cases, which include two counts of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and two counts of unlawful appointment under Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code.

The Sandiganbayan said it could not dismiss the charges based solely on minor technicality.

The cases stemmed from De la Cruz’s appointment of Esther Cabigao, first as a director III on Sept. 1, 2011, then as a department manager III on Nov. 29, 2013. 

Ombudsman prosecutors said both appointments were unlawful as Cabigao lacked the required qualifications for the positions.

The ombudsman said the Civil Service Commission has invalidated both appointments for failing to meet the education, training and experience standards set in three CSC memorandum circulars and a resolution.

In her motions, De la Cruz said the prosecution violated her constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the offense charged against her when it failed to specify which laws and rules were not met by Cabigao’s appointment.

The Fifth Division, however, noted that De la Cruz pleaded not guilty during her arraignment on Sept. 13, 2019, thus the cases were deemed valid.

De la Cruz is facing a separate case before the Seventh Division in connection with her alleged failure to remit to the Government Service Insurance System the montly loan payments of a PhlPost employee totalling P35,178.45 from October 2011 to December 2012.      


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