MANILA, Philippines ? The Sandiganbayan 2nd division gave former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo and former Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio up to March 16 to answer the contempt charge filed against them by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Sandiganbayan 2nd Division Clerk of Court Jaime T. Cabrera said the court also set a hearing on April 24 at 9 a.m.
Last February 9, the Office of the Ombudsman asked the Sandiganbayan to cite Marcelo and Villa-Ignacio in contempt for allegedly misleading President Benigno Aquino III and the public into believing that they were remiss in their duty to pursue the plunder case against former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.
In a 22-page petition, Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit said Marcelo and Ignacio wrote a letter to the President stating that Garcia filed a demurrer to evidence which was dismissed by the Sandiganbayan because they were able to present sufficient evidence to establish the guilt of Garcia for plunder. However, Sulit said there was actually no such demurrer filed in court.
During last Friday?s hearing, Marcelo and Villa-Ignacio apologized before the anti-graft court and admitted their mistake of not verifying with the court if there was actually a demurrer filed before the Sandiganbayan.
The court required the two to make public their apology and comment on the Ombudsman?s petition which would be submitted on or before March 16. The two said they would hold a press conference this week to make their public apology.