• Court urged to junk Abalos’ plea to dismiss case

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    The prosecution has asked the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division to deny for lack of merit a plea of former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. to dismiss a graft case filed against him over alleged procurement of two vehicles amounting to P1.7 million without public bidding in 2003. Abalos alleged that the Office of the Ombudsman violated his right to speedy case disposition when the latter supposedly took eight years to finish its investigation. But the prosecution argued that “[b]ased on the foregoing timeline of the preliminary investigation up to the filing of the Information, it was erroneous for accused Abalos to claim that there was inordinate delay in resolving his case; there was no instance that the preliminary investigation was attended by vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays.” It pointed out that the preliminary investigation until the filing of the Information (charge sheet) before the Sandiganbayan last October took only about three years. The Ombudsman began its preliminary investigation when it was docketed in August 2013 after its field investigators filed the complaint in the same month, according to the prosecution. The alleged “delays,” it said in its comment, “[were]due to the failure of accused Abalos to respond to the order requiring him to submit a counter-affidavit which necessitates the issuance of a 2nd order.”

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