Former lawmaker’s trial for graft to proceed
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has found sufficient evidence against former Malabon-Navotas congressman Federico Sandoval II on charges of graft and technical malversation in connection with his alleged involvement in the fertilizer fund scam.

“After a meticulous study, the Court finds and so holds, that the evidence adduced by the prosecution, testimonial and documentary, including the admissions and stipulations made, appear to be prima facie sufficient for conviction of the accused of the offenses charged, unless succesfully rebutted by defense evidence,” the court’s Second Division said in its resolution promulgated last Oct. 14.

The court denied Sandoval’s motion for leave to file a demurrer to evidence, which would have allowed him to seek the dismissal of his cases without presenting his defense.

Also denied by the court were similar motions filed by Sandoval’s co-accused former Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit IV (Calabarzon) officials Dennis Araullo, Raymundo Braganza, Juvylee Obice, Felix Ramos, Ofelia Montilla and Abelardo Bragas.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2011, the cases against Sandoval and the DA regional officials stemmed from the Navotas-Malabon government’s procurement of a tornado brush chipper/shredder amounting to P3 million in 2004.

The ombudsman said the purchase contract was awarded to LCV Design and Fabrication Corp. without the benefit of public bidding and despite the firm’s lack of certification from Bureau of Patents as an exclusive distributor of purchased equipment. 

The ombudsman said the amount used for the purchase of the waste disposal equipment was drawn from the P728-million fertilizer fund released by the Department of Budget and Management to DA, exclusively intended for the purchase of fertilizer and seeds to aid the farmers in the countrysides.          

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