State prosecutors deny Abalos’ claim of inordinate delay in graft rap
State prosecutors denied there was inordinate delay in the filing of the latest graft case of former Commission on Elections chairperson Benjamin Abalos.
In a comment opposition filed before the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division, the Office of the Special Prosecutor refuted Abalos’ claim that the office took eight years to complete its preliminary investigation.
Abalos said the Field Investigation Office’s complaint was filed in October 2008, but he was shocked to receive a “2nd Order” in September 2014 ordering him to file his counter-affidavit.
Abalos asked the court to dismiss over inordinate delay the case which was filed before the Sandiganbayan in October this year.
The prosecutors said there was no “inordinate delay” as alleged by Abalos, because the preliminary investigation started August 2013, when the complaint of the Field Investigation office, Office of the Ombudsman, was docketed.
“It was erroneous for accused Abalos to claim that there was inordinate delay in resolving his case; there was no instance that the preliminary investigation was attended by vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays,” the prosecution said.
The prosecution added that it was Abalos who did not file a counter affidavit on time, prompting them to issue a second order.
It added that by issuing a second order, it respected Abalos’ right to due process.
“The whole duration of the preliminary investigation until the filing of Information with the Sandiganbayan was just three years, more or less, even if we include the substantial delay of more than one year in the preliminary investigation due to failure of accused Abalos to file his appropriate Counter-Affidavit,” the prosecution said.
“Surely, the Office of the Ombudsman should not be faulted from fully respecting the right of accused Abalos to due process,” it added.
The prosecution said the preliminary investigation from the time it took jurisdiction of the case only lasted two years, which should not be considered “inordinate delay.”
“The whole duration of the preliminary investigation up to the filing of Information lasted only for more or less two years reckoned from the time the accused filed his Counter-Affidavit,” the prosecution said.
“As such, by no stretch of imagination can it be considered as ‘inordinate delay’ to warrant quashing of Information and eventual dismissal of the above-captioned case,” it added.
Abalos’ graft case involved the 2003 purchase of two Toyota Revo VX 200 cars worth P1.71 million allegedly without public bidding.
The former Comelec official was earlier acquitted from graft in the botched National Broadband Network deal with Chinese firm ZTE. He was accused of brokering the allegedly overpriced deal with China. JE
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