• Lawmaker wants graft trial stopped


    Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu is asking the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division to defer the pre-trial in the graft and technical malversation cases filed against her.

    Garcia prefers to postpone the pre-trial until after the Supreme Court resolves her appeals with finality.

    Garcia has pending petitions for certiorari for a review of a lower court’s decision with the Supreme court, including one challenging the Sandiganbayan’s decision denying her request to expunge the prosecution’s pre-trial brief, which contains the outline of the case and witnesses and documentary evidence, and one challenging the denial of a motion seeking to void the charges.

    “Both petitions raise compelling legal questions on actions of this Honorable Court and of the prosecution that is contrary to the constitutional protection of the accused guaranteed by the Constitution,” the defense said in a 16-page motion.

    Garcia is facing two counts of graft and one count of technical malversation in connection with the P99-million Balili Estate scam.

    The Ombudsman indicted her for the allegedly irregular purchase of 249,246 square kilometers of land, which was found to be submerged in water and thus cannot be used for development to attract investors.

    Meanwhile, Garcia is also asking the court for permission to travel to New York from July 3 to 26, to consult with Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. a proposal to amend the Family Code of the Philippines particularly the requirements of a male foreigner to marry a Filipino woman.

    Garcia said the House of Representatives Secretary General Marilyn Yap issued an Authority to Travel dated June 17which was attached to the motion.


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