• Court resets pre-trial of Purisima graft case

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    The Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division postponed the pretrial of the graft case filed against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and several others in connection with the alleged anomalous courier deal entered into by the PNP with Werfast in 2011.

    On Tuesday, the scheduled pretrial was reset to June 21 as the parties review the draft pretrial order which contains the list of the number of hearing dates and witnesses as well as the issues to be resolved during the trial.

    The court canceled the pretrial on January 10 and reset it to April 18 because the parties at that time had yet to finish marking documentary evidence.

    On April 18, the pretrial was reset to June 6 and an additional preliminary conference was set in May for stipulation of facts.

    A pretrial conference aims to consider matters for a fair and expeditious trial. Such matters include plea bargaining, stipulation of facts, marking for identification of evidence of the parties, waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence, modification of the order of trial if the accused admits the charge but interposes a lawful defense.

    The Office of the Ombudsman alleged that the respondents gave Werfast unwarranted benefits when they awarded to the firm the contract to deliver firearms license cards despite its failure to comply with government regulations on courier services.

    Also charged were other police officials including Napoleon Estilles, Gil Meneses, Raul Petrasanta, Allan Parreño, Eduardo Acierto, Melchor Reyes, Lenbell Fabia, Sonia Calixto, Nelson Bautista, Ford Tuazon and Ricardo Zapata Jr.

    Five others who were identified in the charge sheet as Werfast incorporators Mario Juan, Salud Bautista, Enrique Valerio, Lorna Perena, and Juliana Pasia.

    All the defendants are out on bail. REINA TOLENTINO

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