MANILA, Philippines—In a move to avert their arrest, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Avelino I. Razon Jr. and his 22 co-defendants have asked the Sandiganbayan to suspend their trial for the alleged “ghost repairs” of armored vehicles costing P385.48 million, charging that the case against them was railroaded by the Office of the Ombudsman.
In an urgent motion filed Tuesday, Avelino and his fellow respondents—retired police officers and private individuals—claimed that it was premature for the Ombudsman to ask for arrest warrants because they had not yet been furnished copies of the resolution denying their motions for reconsideration.
Defense lawyer Maria Nympha Mandagan claimed the filing of the case was premature as only four of the 23 defendants had been given copies of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ indictment order signed July 10.
The case was filed with the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division on July 16 with the prosecution team headed by Manuel T. Soriano Jr. seeking the issuance of an arrest warrant without bail for Razon and all defendants during the trial.
“The process of preliminary investigation is not yet complete. They must be given the opportunity to avail of remedies before going through the rigors of public trial,” Masagad said.
She claimed that her clients had the right to due process or right to be heard or present evidence based on their appeal for a conference to clarify issues with the Ombudsman.
Razon and his alleged accomplices were accused of booking “ghost repairs” and acquisition of spare parts for 28 V-150 light armored vehicles in 2007 and 2008 during his term as head of the Philippine National Police.