Sandiganbayan suspends Benguet provincial board member pending graft trial

Sandiganbayan to go ahead with trial of Andaya, Napoles over P900M Malampaya scam

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The Sandiganbayan will proceed with the trial of House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., and plunder convict Janet Lim-Napoles for nearly 200 criminal cases in connection with the P900-million Malampaya fund scam.

In a recent 74-page resolution penned by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, the court’s Special 3rd Division sustained its Aug. 20 resolution to deny the motions to quash filed by the defendants because they failed to raise new arguments to warrant its reversal.

The court rejected the claim of Andaya, the Budget secretary at the time of the 2009 scheme, that the allegations were ambiguous and confusing.

It said the details sought by Andaya regarding his particular acts and the manner he approved the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) request for the release of funds did not need to be specifically stated in the informations and should be tackled at the trial stage.

The court also brushed aside Napoles’s argument that she was a private individual, because such persons could be tried for acting in conspiracy with public officers.

It also disagreed with the argument of former DAR Secretary Nasser Pangandaman Sr. and finance director Teresita Panlilio that the Ombudsman’s investigation was unreasonably delayed.

It said the complaints of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office only took two years and two months at most to resolve, especially as the issues were “complex which required a significant amount of time to resolve soundly.”

The cases for 97 counts each of graft and malversation through falsification pertained to the alleged diversion of discretionary funds to fictitious livelihood projects meant for

the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009.

Napoles allegedly ran a network of 12 bogus foundations and made her employees forge the assistance request letters from the mayors of 97 cities and municipalities in Luzon.

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