• Ex-Ilocos Sur lawmaker seeks dismissal of cases

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    FORMER Ilocos Sur first district Rep. Salacnib Baterina asked the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division to dismiss the graft, malversation and direct bribery charges against him in connection with the alleged anomalous use of his P33.9 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation in 2007.

    Baterina’s camp asked that the cases be thrown out saying there was perceived inordinate delay in the filing of the charge sheets.

    According to a 52-page omnibus motion the defense filed, the preliminary investigation took three years, three months and several days to complete.

    It said the National Bureau of Investigation and lawyer Levito Baligod filed the complaint on November 29, 2013 and the Office of the Ombudsman filed the cases in court only last March 17.

    The defense added that on May 29, 2015 while awaiting the resolution of the complaint the NBI and Baligod filed, Baterina were ordered to respond to a complaint initiated by the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office.
    “The Ombudsman could have decided on the NBI-Baligod complaint and filed the information nine months earlier or soon after the counter affidavits were filed which was July 25, 2014,” the defense said.

    The defense thus sought the dismissal of the cases “for having resulted from merging two preliminary investigations where the submitted and pending resolution proceedings received new curative evidence from a second proceeding which gathered testimony to cure the non-credible evidence in the first which evidence were removed and substituted with newly gathered testimony from the second proceedings.”

    It also asked that the charge sheets be nullified “as having come from a flawed preliminary investigation,” saying that Baterina’s counter-affidavit was allegedly “excluded from the determination of probable cause, resulting in the violation of his constitutional right to due process.”

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