Ex-lawmaker wants to be tried separately for fertilizer scam
Former Navotas Representative Federico Sandoval has asked the Sandiganbayan to try him separately on criminal charges in connection with his alleged involvement in the fertilizer fund scam.
Sandoval, who was charged with violation of the antigraft law and technical malversation along with several former officials of the Department of Agriculture, said he wanted a separate trial so that his cases could be resolved sooner.
“Invoking the sound discretion of the Honorable Court, it is most respectfully prayed that a separate trial for the above-entitled cases be held… in the interest of the speedy disposition thereof,” said Sandoval in a motion filed by his lawyer.
The P728-million fertilizer fund scam involved the alleged diversion of agricultural funds to political allies of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the 2004 election campaign.
Sandoval in his motion pointed out that he had been arraigned in the two cases against him, while his coaccused had not.
There were also no more pending motions on his part that would hinder a trial, unlike his coaccused, he said.
He also said the circumstances of his involvement in the alleged fertilizer fund scam were not the same as that of the agriculture officials.
He said his participation was limited to having requested for the purchase of a tornado brush chipper or shredder, which is used for waste management, and that he had nothing to do with the procurement of the equipment and the approval of the request by the agriculture officials.
His coaccused, on the other hand, were involved in requesting for and purchasing farm inputs or implements, he said.
Sandoval is one of several former lawmakers facing criminal charges in the Sandiganbayan for their role in the alleged scam where the money intended for fertilizer for farmers went instead to candidates for office who were allied with Arroyo.
Earlier this year, the Ombudsman filed a slew of graft, malversation and plunder cases against ranking and midlevel agriculture officials, as well as lawmakers and fertilizer suppliers.