Yap bid vs graft case junked
The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has junked Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap’s renewed bid to have the court dismiss his graft cases involving irregularities in car loans when he was head of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
In a nine-page resolution dated Feb. 27 but released only last Tuesday, the antigraft court denied Yap’s motion for reconsideration to have his case thrown out.
Yap, who is also deputy Speaker, faces two counts of graft at the Sixth Division over his allegedly irregular approval of a car loan plan for the board of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) from 2008 to 2009.
The PhilRice is under the DA, which Yap headed at that time.
In the same decision, the court also denied motions filed by five of Yap’s coaccused to dismiss the cases against them.
Aside from junking Yap’s motion, the court division also denied the motions for reconsideration of former PhilRice Executive Director Ronillo Beronio and former PhilRice board members Johnifer Batara, Fe Laysa, Senen Bacani and Rodolfo Undan.
Yap’s case stemmed from his approval of a P15.8-million car loan plan given to PhilRice’s Board of Trustees. Yap chaired the board.
In his motion, Yap said that he was absent during the 54th meeting of the Board of Trustees of PhilRice during which the car loans were discussed and approved.
He also argued that the period of three and a half years spent on fact-finding by the Office of the Ombudsman “constitutes inordinate delay.”
Because of the delay, Yap said he was prejudiced and his case should be dropped.
The antigraft court, however, said the time spent by the Ombudsman on fact-finding was “not capricious, oppressive and vexatious.”
The court added that Yap’s argument that he was absent when the controversial car loans were approved were “evidentiary in nature,” which was best left to trial.
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