Ex-Comelec chair Abalos’ graft arraignment reset
The Sandiganbayan has reset the arraignment for graft of former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson Benjamin Abalos over the 2003 purchase of two service vehicles without public bidding.
During his scheduled arraignment on Thursday, Abalos said he filed a motion for reconsideration on the anti-graft court’s resolution dismissing his motion to quash.
The court reset the arraignment to April 27.
In an interview after the hearing, Abalos said the court erred in ruling that there is no inordinate delay in the Ombudsman’s investigation of his case.
He said the anti-graft court should have calculated the period of inordinate delay starting 2008, when the Ombudsman Field Investigating Office filed its complaint against him on October 2008.
“Yung resolution ng husgado (The court’s resolution), is predicated on an erroneous chronicle of events presented by the Ombudsman,” Abalos said.
Abalos filed the motion for reconsideration after the Sandiganbayan denied the quashal of graft of Abalos
In a resolution, the anti-graft court Sixth Division said there was no inordinate delay on the part of the prosecution as alleged by Abalos in his motion to quash.
The court affirmed the prosecution’s comment refuting Abalos’ claim that the office took eight years to complete its preliminary investigation.
While 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, the prosecutors said the preliminary investigation started only on August 2013, when the complaint of the Field Investigation office was docketed.
The court also said Abalos snubbed the 2013 order to submit a counter-affidavit, and that he only refuted the allegations after the second order came out a year later or in 2014.
The court said the length of time from the filing of the complaint until the resolution finding probable cause, and the denial of Abalos’ appeal “appears to be reasonable and acceptable.”
“The court finds that the proceedings…relating to the preliminary investigation of the case…cannot be characterized as one attended by vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays,” the court said.
The court said Abalos was also accorded due process.
“The length of the proceedings did not result in a violation of his constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases,” the court said.
The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Oscar Herrera Jr. and concurred by Associate Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Karl Miranda.
Abalos’ graft case involved the 2003 purchase of two Toyota Revo VX 200 cars worth P1.71 million allegedly without public bidding when he was Comelec chair.
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. CDG
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