Sandiganbayan rejects motion to dismiss ex-Maasin mayor’s graft case

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Sandiganbayan rejects motion to dismiss ex-Maasin mayor’s graft case

ANTI-GRAFT. File photo of Sandiganbayan in Quezon City taken on June 30, 2018.


Sandiganbayan rejects former Maasin mayor Mariano Malones' move to dismiss graft charges against him despite a Supreme Court ruling

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan rejected former Maasin, Iloilo mayor Mariano Malones’ move to dismiss the graft charges against him, despite an earlier Supreme Court (SC) ruling.

The anti-graft court clarified in a seven-page ruling that the case remains pending in the SC, and that it doesn’t have any jurisdiction over the matter.

“Considering all the foregoing, the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division is clearly still bereft of jurisdiction over these cases and does not have any authority to act on accused Malones’s present motion to dismiss,” the court concluded.

Malones was among those involved in the 2004 fertilizer fund scam which concerned unlawful disbursements of P291.2 million. In wake of the controversy, the Office of the Ombudsman filed graft charges against Malones and other local government officials.

In 2016, Malones and former municipal treasurer Edna Madarico moved to dismiss the charges but the Sandiganbayan denied this.

Malones asked the High Court to review the cases, effectively transferring the entire records of the case to the High Court. In July 2022, the SC granted the petition and ordered the dismissal of the cases on the ground of inordinate delay.

The Sandiganbayan said that while Malones’ withdrawal of appeal was granted by the SC, Malones’ prayer merely asked the High Court to “note” his appeal.

Because of this, Sandiganbayan said, “We are constrained to simply note without action accused Malones’s motion to dismiss.”

“Considering that the Supreme Court simply noted the withdrawal of appeal filed by Malones but did not indicate therein that the same is granted or allowed, this court cannot conclude that accused Malones’ appeal has already been withdrawn, the ruling read.

The former mayor was convicted for 10 years, along with former municipal accountant Cecilio Monterfio and acting municipal accountant Jimmy Borra. Their case stemmed from the purchase of liquid fertilizers at P1,500 per bottle. –

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