The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division deferred again the arraignment of former Batangas governor Jose Antonio Leviste on a malversation case pending resolution of a motion to quash (void the charge sheet) that his lawyers filed.
Leviste’s camp argued that “the facts charged, as alleged, do not constitute an offense” and asked the court to dismiss the case for alleged violation of the right of the former governor to speedy case disposition before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The anti-graft court reset the arraignment to October 6, 2016.
It was the third time that Leviste’s arraignment was postponed since June over the court’s ruling on May 30 that found probable cause to proceed to trial.
Earlier, the scheduled arraignment on June 15 was reset to July 6 pending an omnibus motion where Leviste sought case dismissal for lack of probable cause.
The court later ruled that the omnibus motion was moot.
But because July 6 was declared a special non-working holiday, the Sandiganbayan canceled the arraignment and moved it to September 7.
The Ombudsman filed the case in May, alleging that Leviste “failed to liquidate, refund or account for” P151,385.42 cash advances “despite demands from the Commission on Audit and the Philippine Retirement Authority [PRA]” in 2003.
The sum was part of the cash advances totaling P869,180.75 that he supposedly drew for foreign travels while he was chairman of the PRA Board of Trustees.
Also charged with Leviste was PRA accountant Philip John Moreno, who pleaded not guilty during the arraignment in June.
Both Leviste and Moreno have posted bail.