Close  

Sandigan junks Ombudsman appeal on ex-Laguna mayor’s graft case

/ 09:55 PM May 23, 2017
Former San Pedro City mayor Calixto Cataquiz (Photo from Mr. Cataquiz's Facebook page)

Former San Pedro City mayor Calixto Cataquiz (Photo from Mr. Cataquiz’s Facebook page)

MANILA — The Sandiganbayan has affirmed the dismissal of the graft case against former San Pedro, Laguna mayor Calixto Cataquiz on the grounds of inordinate delay by the Office of the Ombudsman.

In a three-page resolution dated May 16, the court’s Fifth Division denied the appeal by state prosecutors on its Feb. 28 ruling because it was barred by the prohibition on double jeopardy.

ADVERTISEMENT

Even if the case did not go through a full-blown trial, the court said the dismissal of the graft case for the violation of Cataquiz’s right to the speedy disposition of his case already amounted to an acquittal.

“A dismissal with or without the express consent of the accused will be a bar to the subsequent prosecution of the accused for the same offense,” read the resolution.

FEATURED STORIES

“In effect, the dismissal of the instant case is equivalent to an acquittal, as a recognition of the accused’s [Cataquiz] right to speedy disposition of cases,” it added.

In its earlier ruling, the court said the prosecution failed to justify why it took four years and eleven months to finish preliminary investigation, which began when the complaint was filed November 2011 until the case was brought to the Sandiganbayan in October 2016. The court said the case did not involve complex legal and factual issues to warrant the length of investigation.

Cataquiz was charged in connection with the 2008 purchase of an allegedly overpriced 16,808-square meter property from Erlinda and Katrina Sietereales. The property was bought for P15,967,600 at P950 per square meter.  Prosecutors claimed the original price was only P460 per square meter but the value was jacked up when Cataquiz allegedly reclassified the agricultural lot as residential.

Cataquiz’s case is just one of the dozens that recently failed to reach trial on the grounds of inordinate delay, alarming Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales who moved to question the doctrine before the Supreme Court.

Morales in her April 25 press briefing said a favorable Supreme Court ruling would allow her office to revive the corruption cases that had not gone to trial since there would be no double jeopardy in the case of defendants who were never arraigned.

“The cases were dismissed even before arraignment has been held. Nothing would prevent us from refilling the cases if needed be,” Morales said back then. Cataquiz’s case apparently would not be affected by this plan.  SFM

ADVERTISEMENT
Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Anti-Graft and Corruption Act, Calixto Cataquiz, corruption, courts, Crime, dismissal of case, Double Jeopardy, former mayor, government purchases, Graft, inordinate delay in trial, Justice, Laguna, law, litigation, Office of the Ombudsman, overpricing, overpricing in government purchase, overpricing of land bought by government, San Pedro City, Sandianbayan, trials
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
newsinfo

Goat farmer is Palawan mayor

May 20, 2019 05:26 AM

opinion

Plus for the economy

May 20, 2019 05:09 AM




© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.