Arraignment of Gatchalians, Pichay reset anew
The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division postponed for the second time Wednesday the arraignment of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, Valenzuela City 1st District Rep. Weslie Gatchalian and Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Prospero Pichay for alleged graft in relation to the Local Water Utilities Administration’s acquisition of an insolvent thrift bank in 2009.
Arraignment was tentatively reset to Oct. 20, as the court still has to tackle at least two pending motions by their codefendants.
One of them was former LWUA board chair Eduardo Bangayan’s request to be allowed to travel abroad.
The court also said it was also deliberating on Sherwin’s pending motion for judicial determination of probable cause, which sought the case’s dismissal on the ground that the charge sheet was insufficient.
The accused were originally scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 15, but the court postponed it to Oct. 5 also to resolve pending motions.
The case arose from LWUA’s acquisition of a 60-percent majority stake in Express Savings Bank Inc. (Esbi) for P80.003 million from May to October 2009, when it was headed by Pichay.
Esbi is a Laguna-based thrift bank jointly owned by Forum Pacific Inc. (FPI) and the Gatchalians’ Wellex Group Inc. (WGI). Sherwin Gatchalian was WGI’s executive vice president when LWUA entered into the transaction with the bank, while Weslie was an FPI executive. —VINCE F. NONATO
News handpicked by our editors
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.