Sandiganbayan denies ex-PhilPost chief’s motion to quash raps
MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has denied the motion of former Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) Postmaster General Josefina dela Cruz to quash the charges filed against her for allegedly appointing a director not fit for the post.
According to a resolution from the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division, Dela Cruz’ motions to quash were hinged on claims that she was not properly notified of what specific law she supposedly violated.
However, the prosecution reasoned out that it is not true, as the charges were properly stated in the Informations.
Dela Cruz was slapped with four charges — two counts each for allegedly violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act of 2002, and Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code which deals with unlawful appointments.
This was after she placed a certain Esther Cabigao as Director III on September 2011 and Department Manager in November 2013 — whose appointment was allegedly turned down by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for going against various CSC Memorandum Circulars.
“According to the accused, without the phrase ‘as prescribed by existing laws, rules and regulations,’ there is nothing in the information that will show ‘Cabigao [accused’s appointee] did not possess the required education, training and experience(,) qualification for the position’ in which case, the Information would charge no crime at all,” the resolution penned by Associate Justice Rafael Lagos said.
“That phrase is found in all the Informations herein […] It is clear as day that the offenses charged herein are for violations of Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019 and Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code for lack of qualification of the appointee,” it added.
The prosecution also noted that Dela Cruz coordinated with authorities conducting their preliminary investigation — which indicates that she is aware of the cases against her.
“Furthermore, accused-movant participated during the preliminary investigation by filing counter-affidavit dated 11 November 2016. She even sought reconsideration of the Resolution dated 08 January 2018 by the Office of the Ombudsman,” the prosecution said.
“Evidently, accused-movant is aware of the factual and legal background of the cases filed against her,” they added.
The Court maintained that any problems in the Informations can be amended by the prosecution, hence giving state lawyers 10 days from receipt of the resolution to submit an amended Information.
“Generally, the fact that the allegations in the information do not constitute an offense, or that the information does not conform substantially to the prescribed form, are defects curable by amendment,” the court noted.
Aside from this case, Dela Cruz also has other graft complaints being heard before the Sandiganbayan, including allegations that she failed to remit the loan authorization of an employee at PhilPost.
Another graft case against her was about PhilPost’s entry into contracts with a computer and telecommunications company, without going through the proper bidding processes.
Prior to her post at the PhilPost, Dela Cruz served three terms as Bulacan provincial governor from 1998 to 2007. /jpv
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