The Sandiganbayan has junked the motion of former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary and now House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. seeking to dismiss his graft and malversation cases over the alleged PHP900-million Malampaya fund scam in 2009 to 2010.
The anti-graft court’s 3rd Division, in a resolution dated March 6, 2019, denied for lack of merit the motion to quash the 194 counts of graft and malversation cases against Andaya.
In its resolutions promulgated on Aug. 20, 2018 and Jan. 8, 2019, the Court ruled that the presence or absence of the elements of the crimes charged, and the validity or merits of the defenses and/or accusations of the accused are evidentiary in nature and are matters of defense which are best threshed out during trial.
“Indeed, accused-movant Andaya Jr.’s assertions that  ‘it is a giant leap in logic to conclude’ that his mere act of signing the subject SARO (Special Allotment Release Order) is tantamount to constitute all of the elements of the crimes charged;  his act of signing the SARO and NCA (Notice of Cash Allocation) in issue is not a prohibited act; and,  there is not showing that the said SARO was falsified and that funds were misappropriated are all matters of defense, the truth or falsity thereof are better ascertained, not at this stage of the proceedings, but after a full-blown trial on the merits,” it said.
The Court also agreed with the prosecution that “the reliance of the accused-movant on the case of Arias v. Sandiganbayan, at this stage of the proceedings is premature.”
In the said case, the Supreme Court ruled that “all heads of offices have to rely on a reasonable extent on their subordinated and on the good faith of those who prepare bids, purchase supplies, or enter into negotiations.” (By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr. / PNA)