MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan rejected the move of a former mayor of Bacoor City, Cavite, to dismiss a graft case against him that has lasted for 22 years and counting.
Ex-mayor Jessie Castillo is facing a graft case filed in 2000, which stemmed from the operation of a dumpsite without certification from the Environmental Management Bureau.
Castillo said in his motion that the long-running case has caused him to live “under a cloud of anxiety,” adding that he has exerted effort to assert his right to speedy disposition.
In denying his motion, the anti-graft court said the reasons for the long wait were not because of “vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays or unjustified postponement of the trial.”
“While there was inactivity from 2016 to 2022, there was no showing that the same was attributable to the fault of the prosecution or that the same was vexatious, capricious, or oppressive,” the Sandiganbayan said.
“The delay was not intended by the prosecution, evident from the fact that it had inquired as to the status of the case,” it added.
Castillo was indicted in 2000 and his move to quash the information was denied in August 2001. In January 2002, a special division granted his motion to dismiss the case, but the Supreme Court (SC) reversed this decision in September 2015.
It took years before records were transmitted back to the Sandiganbayan from the SC.
The Sandiganbayan also said Castillo “acquiesced to the delay,” pointing out that he did not do anything after the SC decision more than seven years ago.
“His inaction through the years, to the eyes of the court, shows that he has become indifferent to this case,” it said. – Rappler.com