Gov’t lawyers oppose Razon bid on evidence
MANILA, Philippines—State prosecutors have opposed the appeal of former Philippine National Police Director General Avelino Razon Jr. and other former police officers accused of graft and malversation in the Sandiganbayan to limit the presentation of evidence against them in the hearing on their bail petitions.
In a counter-manifestation, prosecutors Irenio Paldeng and Leoveminda Ambojia-Villanueva and Jorge Espinale of the Office of the Ombudsman said that the state, like the accused, was also entitled to due process in criminal cases and, therefore, must be given a chance to present its evidence in support of the charges.
The prosecutors said that since the burden of proof was on them, they must be given enough time to show that the evidence met the required quantum.
“For this purpose, the prosecution must be given an opportunity to present within a reasonable time all the evidence that it may want to adduce,” the prosecutors said.
What constitutes a “reasonable time” and “all evidence” to be presented depends on the nature and complexity of the case, they said.
In their manifestation, Razon and his coaccused complained to the antigraft court that the prosecution was causing an “inordinate delay” in the bail hearing by presenting a long list of witnesses and documents, some of which were not even relevant to the petition at hand.
They noted that the prosecution had so far presented only five of the 71 witnesses it had listed in its compliance in the case.
The accused said a delay in the proceedings would not only give rise to a denial of justice to them but would also work undue vexation and oppression upon them and others involved, from the government to the offended private parties.
Razon has posted bail and pleaded not guilty to four counts of graft, but is still being detained for the malversation case in connection with the alleged bogus repair and maintenance of 28 police armored vehicles to the tune of P358.58 million in 2007 and 2008. There are 32 others accused in the cases.
In their counter-manifestation, the prosecutors said they were aware of the constitutional provision that states that before conviction, all persons shall be allowed to post bail, except those charged with offenses punishable by life imprisonment or more and when the evidence of guilt is strong.
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