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Sandiganbayan says evidence vs NWRB execs strong

/ 12:05 AM December 25, 2019

The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division maintained that the evidence against several officials of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) is strong in their graft and falsification cases.

In a resolution, the anti-graft court denied the motions for leave of court to file demurrers to evidence of NWRB Regional Executive Director Vicente Paragas and his co-accused.

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Other than Paragas, Eleuterlo Villena Recile of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) – DENR Regional Office IV, and DENR bids and awards committee (BAC) members Nelson Sikat and Loma Borlongan, Chief of the Survey Party Elpidio E. Atienza, and Arnulfo Lacanienta of the A.M. Lacanienta Surveying Office all filed their respective pleadings seeking to file demurrers, while Regional Technical Director Arnulfo Hernandez filed a manifestation adopting the motion of Sikat and Borlongan.

But the anti-graft court denied all the motions, sauigg if unrebutted, the case against the accused is strong.

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“After a careful study of the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by the prosecution, the Court finds that, if unrebutted, the same is prima facie sufficient to support a verdict of guilt against the accused for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 and for Falsification under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code,” the resolution said.

A motion for leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence asks the court for permission to file a demurrer. A demurrer to evidence, in turn, asks the court to evaluate the evidence presented by the prosecution to determine if it is strong enough to proceed with the case.

A granted demurrer is tantamount to a dismissed case. However, since the court did not allow Paragas and his co-accused to file a demurrer, the trail is expected to proceed, with the defense presenting their evidence.

The case stems from the alleged conspiracy of the accused to falsify public documents involved in the surveying and mapping project for the Pola Watershed Project.

The documents appeared to show that a public bidding was conducted and that the project was completed. However, in the criminal information submitted by the Office of the Ombudsman, they said the same was not true.

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TAGS: National Water Resources Board, NWRB Regional Executive Director Vicente Paragas, Sandigan
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