• Ombudsman bats for full-blown Garcia trial

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    THE Office of the Ombudsman insisted that there is no defect in the charge sheet lodged against Rep.-elect Gwendolyn Garcia and all allegations of the outgoing governor are better presented in a full-blown trial.

    Opposing the motion to quash of Garcia, state lawyers said that as far as the requisites of an information is concerned, all elements of the graft and malversation cases are stipulated in the information.

    The prosecution said that it was clear in the information that Garcia is a public officer; that she acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence; and that her actions caused injury to the government regarding the P99-million Balili estate scam.

    Earlier, Garcia through her lawyers from Romulo Mabanta said that there are inaccuracies in the information, which “negates any criminal intent.”

    For one, the Torrens Certificate Title of the Balili estate “is incontrovertible.”

    It was also provincial budget officer Emme Gingoyon that certified the availability of funds and that the Cebu Provincial Assessment Committee did not show any portion of the Balili lots as submerged, Garcia argued.

    However, the Ombudsman rebutted: “Evidence aliunde [from elsewhere]or matters extrinsic to the information cannot be considered in hearing the motion to quash where the ground invoked is that the facts charged do not constitute an offense.”

    Citing Supreme Court jurisprudence, fiscals said that what is needed to be present on a charge sheet is that the charge of an accused must be “set forth with such particularity” so that he would know the offense against him to prepare his defense.

    “Matters of evidence, as distinguished from facts essential to the description of the offense, need not be averred,” the prosecutors quoted.

    They said that, since it appears that the incoming lawmaker is already citing arguments which are already evidentiary in nature, her motion to quash must be denied and that trial must proceed.

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