Corruption in the Philippines

Sandiganbayan junks ex-QC mayor Bautista’s bid to dismiss graft case

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Sandiganbayan junks ex-QC mayor Bautista’s bid to dismiss graft case

Former Quezon City Mayor Herbert "Bistek" Bautista emerges from a “not guilty plea” at the Sandigan Bayan in Quezon City on May 18, 2023, on his arraignment on the graft and corruption charges filed against him and Quezon City Administrator Aldrin Junia by the Quezon City government for their involvement in the Online Permitting Tracking System contract worth 32 million pesos.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

The Sandiganbayan Third Division says the information filed against Bautista is sufficient to establish a violation of the anti-graft law

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan thumbed down the petition of former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista to dismiss a graft case filed against him over an alleged anomalous project awarded in 2019 worth P25.34 million.

In an 18-page resolution promulgated on Wednesday, June 7, the anti-graft court’s Third Division said the information filed against Bautista was sufficient to establish a violation of the anti-graft law.

The graft charges against Bautista and former Quezon City administrator Aldrin Cuña are related to a multi-million solar power project signed on June 27, 2019, two days before his term ended.

The case alleged that Bautista and Cuña favored private contractor Cygnet for the installation of solar power and waterproofing systems of Civic Center Building F.

In his petition, Bautista said that the charges failed to state any factual averments that will constitute manifest partiality, evident bad faith, and gross inexcusable negligence.

Sandiganbayan, however, said that the information was sufficient as the rules only require it to state the essential facts constituting the offense without the need for finer details as to how or why the illegal acts amounted to undue injury.

“These focused on factual allegations that would require the presentation of evidence best fitted for a full-blown trial,” the court said.

Sandiganbayan also refuted Bautista’s claim that the Ombudsman’s office delayed the preliminary investigation on him and its subsequent filing of the graft case.

“Consequently, the case against him should not be dismissed upon a finding that there was no violation of his right to speedy disposition of cases,” the court noted.

Apart from this graft case, Bautista and Cuña also face another case where they pleaded not guilty. The graft case involves a P32.2-million contract awarded to Geodata Solutions, Incorporated for the procurement of an online occupational permitting and tracking system.–

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