Sandigan affirms ruling vs 2 former Eastern Samar officials

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - November 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has affirmed its earlier ruling requiring former Eastern Samar congressman Marcelino Libanan and governor Clotilde Salazar to present evidence in separate graft charges filed against them in 2004.

In resolutions promulgated on Oct. 5 and 20, the anti-graft court denied Libanan and Salazar’s appeals to file a demurrer to evidence.

A demurrer would have allowed Libanan and Salazar to seek the dismissal of their cases without presenting their defense.

The dismissal, if granted, will be based solely on the supposed weak evidence of the prosecution.

The charges against the two former officials stemmed from the purchase of P3.25 million worth of fertilizer in April 2004.

The court said Libanan and Salazar failed to raise new and valid arguments that would warrant the reversal of the denial of their appeals.

The Sandiganbayan also rejected the appeals of other respondents – former agriculturist Jesus Agda, bids and awards committee chair Vilma Bormate, BAC vice chair Necitas Ponferrada and BAC member Manuel Japzon.

The anti-graft court said the respondents’ merely rehashed the arguments they presented earlier.

Libanan and Salazar are facing one and two counts, respectively, of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for the supposed purchase of 2,164 bags of fertilizer.

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