Gov’t seeks reinstatement of case vs Maliksi
MANILA, Philippines–State prosecutors have asked the Sandiganbayan to reverse its decision junking the graft case against former Cavite governor Ayong Maliksi, asking the antigraft court to reconsider its Feb. 2 ruling that the “inordinate” delay in the case’s resolution had deprived Maliksi of the right to a speedy trial.
In their Feb. 12 motion for reconsideration, the Ombudsman prosecutors said Maliksi had belatedly raised the claim that his right to a speedy trial had been violated, failing to “seasonably” question the time it took for the Ombudsman to indict him for graft based on a complaint by then Vice Gov. Juanito Victor Remulla in 2005.
They also asked the Second Division to take judicial notice of the “political turmoil” in the Office of the Ombudsman caused by the resignation of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in April 2011 which affected the work of the agency.
“The prosecution respectfully advances that it was definitely not by whim or caprice that there was a prolonged preliminary investigation. While there was delay, we respectfully submit that it was justified and such did not prejudice the accused,” the prosecutors argued before the court.
They also noted that the court itself had admitted that there was “reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been committed.”
Interest in resolution
Citing several criminal cases decided by the Supreme Court, the prosecution stressed that Maliksi, like any other accused, should have shown “interest in the resolution of his case.”
But the ex-governor did not submit any petition to expedite the preliminary investigation of the case.
His failure to assert the right to a speedy trial “at the soonest opportunity” should be considered as a “waiver of such right,” they said.
They noted that the assertion of the right to a speedy trial was entitled to strong evidentiary weight in determining the defendant’s claim that his constitutional right had been violated.
The case against Maliksi, one of President Aquino’s closest political allies, stemmed from the allegedly anomalous procurement of P2.5-million worth of medicines without a public bidding by the Cavite provincial administration 12 years ago.
In throwing out the criminal case against Maliksi, the court took note of the “inordinate delay” in the resolution of the complaint.
Indictment for graft
It said the Ombudsman only recommended Maliksi’s indictment for graft in July 2014, or nearly nine years after Remulla, who is now the Cavite governor, filed the complaint in August 2005.
“The cited sequence of events does not convince the court that there was no inordinate delay that occurred within nine years that the case was pending with the Ombudsman,” the court said.
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