Court defers arraignment of former LRTA chief

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The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division has deferred the arraignment of former Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Melquiades Robles and several others who are facing graft charges in connection with the payment for the deployment of janitors in 2009.

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Robles has filed a motion to dismiss the case.

His camp filed an urgent motion asking the court to defer the arraignment scheduled on April 5 “until after the Honorable Court has resolved the said motion.”

Also charged were former LRTA Special Bids and Awards Committee members Evelyn Macalino, Federico Canar Jr., Dennis Francisco, Marilou Liscano, Elmo Stephen Triste, and Eduardo Abiva as well as Nicholas Ombao, Roger Vaño, Maynard Tolosa and Juliet Labisto, former members of the Technical Working Group.

The Office of the Ombudsman alleged that the respondents gave unwarranted benefit to a joint venture by paying it P3.37 million per month for the deployment of 321 janitors “while allowing and/or causing the reduction of the required number of janitors to be deployed” by the joint venture to 219.

Robles’ camp insisted that there was no evidence to show that the joint venture collected P3.3 million for the 321 janitors and that he complaint filed by he Ombudsman was baseless.

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