• Ex-Palawan gov pushes for case dismissal

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    Former Palawan Gov. Mario Joel Reyes asked the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division to reconsider its ruling that found basis to proceed with the trial of a graft case filed against him and four others over the allegedly anomalous purchase of liquid fertilizers in 2004.

    The court earlier denied for lack of merit a motion to dismiss that he filed.

    In its motion for reconsideration, the defense said, “As previously discussed, no evidence of the alleged participation of Reyes in the alleged conspiracy in this case has been presented except for Araullo’s testimony on the former’s alleged endorsement of MAMFI, which should in the first place be excluded.”

    It was referring to respondent Dennis Araullo, former executive director of the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Regional Unit IV.

    “Reyes did not endorse MAMFI,” the defense maintained, saying, “The fact remains that there was actually no need, much less opportunity for Reyes to make such endorsement.”

    MAMFI is the non-government organization (NGO) Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.

    The defense said Palawan province, as mere beneficiary, did not choose the NGO.

    It added that Reyes is not guilty of bad faith, partiality or gross negligence “especially since there is no showing of any dishonesty, much less gain on his part, there in fact being no damage or injury to the government on account of the Ombudsman’s finding itself that there was no overpricing and that the fertilizers were actually distributed.”

    The defense thus asked the court that its resolution dated December 1, 2016 “be reconsidered, reversed and set aside and the Information in this case be dismissed insofar as accused Reyes is concerned for lack of probable cause.”

    REINA TOLENTINO

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