Andaya scolded by Justice Tang for comments on TV channel
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang on Friday reprimanded House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. for his “nice timing” comment on his arraignment in connection with the P900-million Malampaya Fund scam.
During the hearing, Tang brought up Andaya’s remark in a Thursday interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, in which he noted how his 194 criminal cases advanced while he was spearheading an investigation on anomalies in the Department of Budget and Management.
“That’s very good timing, just when all of these were coming out. I expect it,” Andaya told ANC.
A visibly miffed Tang took exception and stressed that “in resolving cases, the court will never be swayed by external factors like politics.”
“In fact, the court is apolitical. You may disagree with our resolutions, but you have remedies. Please avail of that. Do not try to attribute anything to the court if you are not satisfied,” Tang said.
Andaya responded: “I do apologize if it sent the wrong message. It won’t happen again. I will be more careful.”
The court accepted his apology.
But Andaya’s scheduled arraignment did not push through because he had just filed on Jan. 15 a motion to quash his graft and malversation through falsification cases.
The issue of the validity of the charges would have to be resolved first.
It may be recalled that Andaya previously asked the court to require the prosecution to provide the details of its supposedly vague allegations, but this was denied last week.
Plunder convict Janet Lim-Napoles, accused of running 12 bogus foundations to which the discretionary funds were diverted in 2009, was not arraigned.
Former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman Sr., Undersecretary Narciso Nieto and chief accountant Angelita Cacananta pleaded not guilty.
Former Agrarian Reform finance director Teresita Panlilio refused to enter a plea.