Ex-Petron officials want P700-M case dropped

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FORMER oil giant officials want their graft cases to be junked after a precedent ruling from the Supreme Court that exonerated the accused.

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In a six-page motion to resolve, former Petron Corp. President Monico Jacob and Vice President and General Manager Celso Legarda and other officials asked the Sandiganbayan fourth division to junk their 101 graft cases.

Joining Jacob and Legarda are erstwhile vice president for refinery Apolinario Reyes and former senior marketing executive Rafael Diaz Jr.

The private individuals were implicated in the graft cases of former Finance Undersecretary Antonio Belicena for the alleged illegal issuance of tax credit certificates (TCCs) from the One-Stop Shop Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center to, among others, Petron.

According to the private individuals, their earlier motions to dismiss must be fast-tracked since the High Court already issued a favorable ruling on the private respondents.

“The Supreme Court . . . exonerated Petron Corp. and by necessary implication, the accused in these cases, the Petron officers who acted or signed the deeds of assignment, for Petron, of any participation in the fraudulent issuance of TCCs,” the motion read.

The ranking officials of Petron said that the SC handed out a ruling that found no participation on the oil firm officials.

The High Court added that Petron is a “qualified transferee” of the TCCs, issued between 1994 and 1998.

“Petron is a purchaser in good faith and for value of the TCCs,” the accused stressed.

They added that even the Court of Tax Appeals junked their case against the Bureau of Internal Revenue, even before the high tribunal ruled on the matter.
The special tax court resolved that Petron had no knowledge of the fraudulent issuance and transfer of the tax credits.

In their latest motion, the accused said that since the SC held that Petron did not participate in the purchase of the TCCs, “Petron was therefore an innocent transferee for value.”

Additionally, Legarda for himself underscored that his six cases related to the TCC scam filed at the anti-graft court’s fifth division were dismissed in February.

Legarda, through his counsels, raised the Court’s precedent ruling, which upheld the legality of the 1989 memorandum of agreement between the Finance department and the Board of Investments.

The four officials said that since the Court, the tax appellate court and another division in the Sandiganbayan have already dismissed related cases, the cases pending should be junked as well “on the ground of res judicata through conclusiveness of judgment.”

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