Gwen Garcia loses another round in Sandiganbayan graft case
MANILA, Philippines – Cebu 3rd District Representative Gwen Garcia lost another round of appeals at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan after the Special 2nd Division voted 3-2 to deny her motion for reconsideration (MR).
The majority justices denied on January 22 Garcia's MR, a copy of which was released to media on Monday, January 28.
"This court finds that there is clearly no violation of movant's constitutional right to speedy disposition of her cases as the time it took the Ombudsman to complete the investigation and the time the plaintiff has prosecuted the instant cases before this court can hardly be considered an unreasonable and arbitrary delay," said Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna, concurred with by Associate Justices Oscar Herrera and Efren dela Cruz.
Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Geraldine Faith Econg dissented.
The resolution is a reiteration from November, where the justices voted similarly to deny Garcia's appeal.
The charges stem from the controversial Balili property, which Garcia bought as governor of Cebu but turned out to be submerged under water.
A complaint was filed against her in 2010, and then-ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales filed the charges in court in 2012.
Garcia invoked the inordinate delay doctrine – commonly used by politicians – and said the years her case has stayed in court violated her constitutional right to a speedy disposition.
The 3 majority justices disagreed, saying, "There is nothing in the records to show that said period was characterized by delay which was vexatious, capricious, or oppressive."
Morales dismissed Garcia from service in February 2018, from an offshoot case that stemmed from the backfilling of the same property. She was also perpetually disqualified from office.
Former House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez defied the dismissal order against his then-deputy speaker. (READ: Is it game over for Gwen Garcia after Ombudsman's dismissal order?)
Garcia was also able to file her certificate of candidacy for Cebu governor, because the penalties of dismissal and perpetual disqualification have to be final and executory to legally stop someone from running. This means the matter would have to reach the Supreme Court first. – Rappler.com