• Court asked to deny Dimaporo’s bail plea

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    THE prosecution has asked the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division to dismiss former Lanao del Norte Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo’s request to post bail for the malversation case filed against him in connection with the fertilizer fund scam, for lack of basis.

    Last month, Dimaporo filed an urgent motion for bail, citing an earlier recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling that a person charged with the complex crime of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents involving more than P22,000 is entitled to bail as a matter of right.

    “We vehemently oppose the abovementioned urgent motion for lack of basis and for being premature,” the prosecution said.

    The decision of the SC en banc (full bench) in December in the case People of the Philippines vs Luzviminda Valdez and the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, which the defense cited in its motion for bail, was not yet final and executory, it said.

    “[T]hus its immediate application in the instant case cannot be invoked yet,” it said.

    The Office of the Special Prosecutor filed a motion for reconsideration, dated January 19, asking the SC to reverse its ruling.

    “For this reason, movant’s invocation of the Valdez ruling is still premature,” it said.

    Dimaporo’s camp had asked the court that he be allowed to post bail pursuant to the SC ruling, noting that he was charged with the same offense involved in the Valdez case.

    In 2013, Dimaporo asked the Sandiganbayan to fix an amount for his bail, which the court denied last year.

    “No amount of protestations and arguments against the charge in the information in this case, as well as discussion of evidence presented before the Office of the Ombudsman, as cited in the motions and pleadings filed by the accused, Dimaporo, would authorize the fixing of the amount of bail for said accused,” it said.

    The court added that it must first determine in a bail hearing that the evidence of guilt is not strong in order to justify the setting of an amount for his bail.

    The detained former lawmaker is accused of misappropriating P5 million in public funds from the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the implementation of the Farm Input and Farm Implementation Program (FIFIP) of the DA, in conspiracy with officials of the NGO Lanao Foundation Incorporated (LFI) by allocating such to LFI for the purchase of farm inputs.

    REINA TOLENTINO

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