Ex-Bataan gov cleared | Inquirer News

Ex-Bataan gov cleared

/ 05:15 AM December 27, 2016

The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the graft case against former Bataan Gov. Leonardo Roman in connection with the 2004 construction of a P3.66-million mini theater, citing unreasonable delays on the part of the Office of the Ombudsman.

In a 13-page resolution dated Dec. 14, the Special Second Division granted Roman’s motion to quash the graft case, agreeing that his right to the speedy disposition of his case was violated by the Ombudsman’s “inordinate delay.”

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“This Court cannot ignore the prejudice against the accused caused by the lengthy delay of 11 years in the conduct of the preliminary investigation proceedings and determination of probable cause,” the resolution read.

The Ombudsman did not originally find probable cause to charge Roman for graft in 2008-2009.

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Roman’s successor and political nemesis, the late Enrique Garcia Jr., questioned the dismissal of his complaint before the Supreme Court in 2011, leading to the high court’s order to the antigraft body to indict Roman in November 2014. Because of this, Roman was charged before the Sandiganbayan in February 2015.

The Sandiganbayan agreed with prosecutors that the Supreme Court case should not be included in determining the delay. But it still pointed out that even before that, the Ombudsman took five years to terminate the preliminary investigation on Garcia’s September 2004 complaint.

A May 2006 resolution to dismiss the case for lack of probable cause was approved by Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro on June 2008; it would take another year before the office denied Garcia’s motion for reconsideration on October 2009.

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TAGS: Bataan Gov. Leonardo Roman, Office of the Ombudsman, Philippine news updates, Sandiganbayan
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