Sandigan denies gov’t appeal of Bolante case dismissal
The Sandiganbayan has denied the government’s appeal on the P723-million plunder charge against former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante, dismissing the fertilizer fund scam case with finality.
In a strongly worded, eight-page resolution, the court’s Second Division chided the prosecution for “ignorantly” questioning its jurisdiction to determine the lack of probable cause to put Bolante and eight others to trial.
“The prosecution must have overlooked the well-recognized power of judges to dismiss a criminal case when the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest,” read the resolution penned by Justice Samuel R. Martires.
This was in response to the prosecution’s motion for reconsideration stating that the court had gone beyond its authority by throwing out the case in November.
They argued that the court should have only determined if the accused officials should be ordered arrested, as the determination of the case’s sufficiency lies with the investigating prosecutors.
But, the court took exception to the claim that it practically interfered with the “executive determination of probable cause.”
The court noted that the prosecution, by insisting on its own finding of probable cause, was “in effect, curbing the jurisdiction of this Court.”
“If the prosecution expects the Court to issue a warrant of arrest and, thus, not to dismiss the case because it (prosecution) had previously determined the existence of probable cause, then it is utterly mistaken,” the resolution read.
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