Echiverri, 2 others ask court to junk graft raps

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FORMER Caloocan City Mayor Enrico Echiverri and two others have asked the Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division to dismiss the graft charges filed against them in connection with two contracts allegedly awarded without prior authorization from the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council) for lack of probable cause. Likewise seeking the dismissal of the charges are former City Accountant Edna Centeno and former City Budget Officer Jesusa Garcia. The defense argued that “an independent assessment and personal examination of the evidence adduced during the preliminary investigation of these cases will indubitably lead this Honorable Court to one indisputable conclusion – the evidence on record does not establish probable cause, hence, these cases must be immediately dismissed.” According to the defense, both the complaint and the Office of the Ombudsman’s resolution noted that the city government’s P3.3-billion budget for 2011 was approved by the city council through Ordinance No. 0468 s. 2010. The cases stemmed from the contract supposedly awarded in 2012 to E.V. & E. Construction (EVEC) “for the Improvement of Pathwalk and Drainage System at Villa C.C.O., La Loma, Barangay 178, Caloocan City” as well as the contract supposedly awarded in 2013 to P. B. Grey Construction (PBGC) “for the Drainage Improvement Along Apostol St. and G. Del Pilar St. and Improvement of Alleys at Barangay 65, Caloocan City.”

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