Abalos arraignment for P1.71M graft re-set to Apr. 27
MANILA — The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has postponed the arraignment of former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos to April 27.
This was after Abalos sought the deferral of his scheduled arraignment on Thursday, informing the court that he intended to appeal the denial of his motion to quash his graft case.
In an interview after the hearing, Abalos maintained that the court should have thrown out his P1.71-million graft case because of unreasonable delays on the part of the Office of the Ombudsman.
“They predicated the resolution on a chronicle of events presented by the Ombudsman. It is erroneous,” he told reporters.
The court earlier gave weight to the prosecution’s contention that the period should be counted from August 2013, when field investigators formally filed a complaint and triggered the start of the preliminary investigation stage.
This was delayed by a year because Abalos had to be given a second chance to rebut the complaint in September 2014. He had then claimed not to have received an earlier order in September 2013. For the court, the time taken by the preliminary investigation stage “appears to be reasonable and acceptable.”
Abalos, however, said the court should have counted the process to take eight years from 2008, when fact-finding investigation began in order to build up the case.
The case involves the June 2003 purchase of two Toyota VX 200 cars allegedly without holding public bidding. SFM
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