Sandiganbayan to proceed with graft case vs former Bataan governor Roman

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Sandiganbayan to proceed with graft case vs former Bataan governor Roman

ANTI-GRAFT COURT. The Sandiganbayan in Quezon City, June 30, 2018.

Darren Langit/Rappler

The anti-graft court says former governor Leonardo Roman's instant motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence 'is bereft of merit'

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan will proceed with the graft case against former Bataan governor Leonardo Roman.

Associate Justice Edgard Caldona penned the nine-page resolution of the Sandigabyan Second Division dated November 3, denying Roman’s petition seeking leave of court to file demurrer to evidence. Associate Justices Oscar Herrera Jr. and Arthur Malabaguio concurred.

“After a circumspect consideration of the arguments presented by the parties, this Court is of the considered view that the instant motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence is bereft of merit,” the Sandiganbayan said.

A demurrer to evidence is a pleading that the defense files after the prosecution’s presentation of evidence to seek an outright dismissal of the case. 

In his motion, Roman claimed that none of the prosecution witnesses managed to prove the authenticity of the documents in relation to the case, as they were neither signatories nor had personal knowledge of the transaction.

What happened?

In 2015, Roman was accused of favoring V.F. Construction in awarding a P3.66-million mini-theater project of the Bataan State College in 2003, and released full payment for it.

The Commission on Audit (COA) said that the structure was only 50.7% complete, and recommended a full refund, including liquidated damages.

Other former provincial officials ae co-defendants in the case: Romeo Mendiola, Pastor Vichauco, Aurora Tiambeng, and Numeriano Medina.

The Office of the Ombudsman said that the project had no valid allotment because the provincial government did not request any appropriation for it. The prosecution said that Roman should have not entered into the transaction in the first place without a valid appropriation.

“It should be stressed that aside from the project that remained uncompleted, accused-movant is also being indicted for entering into a contract notwithstanding the absence of valid allotment and/or appropriation therefor,” the Sandiganbayan said.

The prosecution also questioned the release of full payment for the contractor despite the non-completion of the project. It added that the contract between the Bataan government under Roman and V.F. Construction was not notarized, had no stipulation of performance, and had no target completion date.

Roman issued a certificate of completion on February 20, 2004 and a certificated of acceptance on February 23, 2003. These documents prompted the release of two cheques of full payment for the contractor.

The Sandiganbayan said both the documents had Roman’s signature, which the latter did not deny. –

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