Danding seeks dismissal of coco levy case


THE uncle of President Benigno Aquino 3rd is seeking the dismissal of his civil case relating to the coconut levy fund, after more than 25 years since its filing and with still no trial in sight.

Businessman Eduardo “Danding” Conjuangco Jr., in a 20-page motion, sought for civil case 33-E to be entirely dismissed for inordinate delay stemming from a lack of interest by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to prosecute the case, he said, citing the defense team.

Through his counsels Estelito Mendoza and Francis Tuliao, Conjuangco said that the case has been pending for more than 25 years since it was filed on July 31, 1987.

Lawyers of the chairman of San Miguel Corp. attacked the “dilatory tactics” of state lawyers, whom the defense said have no desire to prosecute the case.

In 1991, the case was broken down to eight cases with Conjuangco’s as civil case 33-E, relative to the alleged unlawful disbursement and dissipation of coco levy funds.

This “subdivided complaint” was later on filed as the third amended complaint before the anti-graft court in February 1995.

Five years later in October 2000, respective parties wrapped up the pretrial in civil case 33-E, with the prosecution having “the ability and every opportunity to commence trial,” the defense said.

Instead, the state filed a motion for partial summary judgment despite the case haven’t undergone a trial. The motion was resolved in 2012 and became final and executory.

In the resolution, the anti-graft court magistrates junked the OSG’s plea for summary judgment because only a full-blown trial could be resorted into for appreciation of evidence because “there are genuine issues of material facts” in the case.

The OSG then filed a petition for certiorari with prayer for temporary restraining order (TRO) or a writ of preliminary injunction before the Supreme Court “albeit now making evident its purpose to cause delay in the proceedings of this case,” the defense retorted.

At present, the High Tribunal has not issued a TRO. As such, the defense stressed that under Rules of Civil Procedure, the case must proceed to trial.

“The legal maneuverings undertaken by the Republic betray, at worst, its deliberate refusal or, at best, its lack of interest to prosecute the case,” the defense underscored.

Conjuangco and lawyers said that under court procedure, dismissal is warranted if the plaintiff fails to prosecute a case for an unreasonable length of time.

They added that dismissal of cases works for expeditious resolution of cases and protects against intentional delay and plaintiff’s lack of interest in pursuing a case.

“To emphasize, the Republic has allowed a total of more than 13 years now from the termination of pretrial to lapse without going to trial,” the defense lamented.

“The present case has not moved; which may be attributed principally, if not totally, to the Republic not having even lifted a finger in proceeding to trial,” the defense added.

In closing, Conjuangco and his defense counsels asked the Sandiganbayan Second Division to dismiss the case for inordinate delay.


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