Ex-Misamis mayor loses bid to lift arrest, reschedule promulgation
MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has dismissed a motion filed by former Mayor Antonio Calingin of Claveria town in Misamis Oriental, which would have lifted the bench warrant of arrest, allowed him to post bail and eventually reschedule his promulgation.
In a resolution from the Second Division released last July 9, the court shot down claims of Calingin that he was not informed of his promulgation’s date because he has already tapped another lawyer as his counsel.
He was found guilty of 15 counts of graft last March 22 for cases involving the anomalous release of millions of funds intended for the Balay Ticala Housing Project in 1995.
“The notification made to Atty. Romualdo Densing regarding the promulgation of the Decision on March 22, 2019 was not effective notification since Atty. Densing did not appear in the cases as counsel for the accused-movant,” the anti-graft court said, relaying Calingin’s motion.
“There was no other way the accused could have known of the scheduled promulgation of the decision,” it added.
However, Sandiganbayan insisted that it was Densing who has been representing Calingin since 2011.
“At the onset, Atty. Densing has been representing the movant and has actively participated in the instant cases as the counsel of record since 2011 and as such, notices were duly sent to him pursuant to Section 2 Rule 13 of the Rules of Court,” the court said.
They also added that the motion to withdraw filed by Densing last February was not approved because Calingin did not approve it. As it is, all official notices were still delivered to Densing.
With this resolution, the arrest order against Calingin stands, and the rescheduling of the promulgation was not granted. This would mean that the former local executive loses legal remedies available — like filing a motion for reconsideration or any appeal — as he did not attend his promulgation.
“Thus, there being valid service of the notices of the promulgation of the Decision scheduled [for] March 22, 2019 on accused-movant, his failure to appear on the said promulgation despite such notice and without justifiable cause is a clear violation of his undertakings when he posted bail,” Sandiganbayan said.
“When the accused failed to present themselves at the promulgation of the judgment of conviction, they lose remedies of filing a motion for a new trial or reconsideration and an appeal from the judgment of conviction,” the court said, citing its rules.
It can be remembered that the same rules were raised after former first lady Imelda Marcos was allowed to seek legal remedies even if she did not attend her promulgation last November 2018.
Marcos was convicted for seven counts of graft after it was proven that she transferred around $200 million to Swiss foundations while she was sitting as Metro Manila governor, member of the Batasang Pambansa, and minister of human settlements.
However, the court allowed her to seek legal remedies after submitting various documents to prove that she was indisposed on the day of her promulgation, as she was suffering from multiple organ infirmities.
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