Ex-lawmakerâs bid to dismiss graft case junked
The cases against the former officials stemmed from the allegedly anomalous purchase of fertilizer in 2004.
Ex-lawmaker’s bid to dismiss graft case junked
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has denied the appeals filed by former Eastern Samar congressman Marcelino Libanan and former governor Clotilde Salazar to file demurrers to evidence, which would have allowed them to seek the dismissal of their graft cases.

The cases against the former officials stemmed from the allegedly anomalous purchase of fertilizer in 2004.

In a nine-page resolution promulgated on Aug. 13, the anti-graft said allowing Libanan, Salazar and their co-accused to file demurrers would delay the proceedings of the cases.

A demurrer would have allowed the accused to skip presentation of their defense and seek the dismissal of their cases based only on the supposed weak evidence of the prosecution.

The law provides that an accused may file a demurrer after the prosecution has put its case to rest.

The same law states that the accused must first seek the permission of the court, through a motion for leave, so he would not lose his chance to present counter-evidence if the demurrer is denied.

Libanan was accused of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the purchase of 2,164 bags of fertilizer amounting to P3.25 million from Akame Marketing International in April 2004.

Meanwhile, Salazar was charged with two counts of the same offense for her alleged involvement in the procurement of the same product.

Records showed the provincial government twice purchased fertilizer from the same supplier.

The office of the Ombudsman, which filed the cases in 2018, said no public bidding was conducted for the project.

The respondents allegedly resorted to direct contracting and did not canvass prices in the market.

Anti-graft investigators said Akame Marketing and its products were not registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, which disqualified it as a supplier of the government.

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