No way out for scam suspect
The Sandiganbayan has junked anew the bid of an accused in the Fertilizer Fund Scam to avoid trial for the case.
This developed after the anti-graft court’s Special Sixth Division denied former Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer (Philpos) Corp. representative Tomas Gubani’s plea to reconsider his motion seeking to dismiss the graft case against him over fertilizer procurement in 2003.
Gubani is facing graft charges for allegedly conspiring with former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and former National Food Authority Administrator Cito Lorenzo in connection with the negotiated procurement of fertilizers worth P595,636.37, in violation of the Government Procurement Act.
In a nine-page resolution, dated 23 October 2018 but released only recently by Sandiganbayan, the Court denied Gubani’s motion due to sheer lack of merit.
Gubani’s defense had argued the court erred in its 9 August 2018 decision junking his motion to quash for saying there was no inordinate delay in the disposition of his case.
He had asserted earlier that his constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases was violated because it took the Ombudsman seven years and four months to complete the fact-finding investigation from the time “Task Force Abono” was created in February 2006 to investigate the case.
However, the Sandiganbayan ruled a mere mathematical computation of the time involved is not the sole consideration in determining inordinate delay as the totality of facts and circumstances must be examined.
Moreover, the court explained the period of the fact-finding investigation should be excluded from the computation and the reckoning of the time in the disposition of a case starts only when a formal complaint has been filed.
“Accused Guibani failed to identify a concrete prejudice that they may have suffered as a logical, inevitable and necessary consequence of the allegedly snail-paced investigation.
Suffice it to say, however, that the delay was attributable to the complexity of the issues, the volume of evidence and the conduct of the parties’ lawyers” the Sandiganbayan added.
The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero with Associate Justices
Sarah Jane Fernandez and Mary Ann Corpus-Mañalac concurring.
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