Prosecution ‘does not object to’ dismissal of graft raps filed vs late lawmaker

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THE prosecution said that it “did not object to the dismissal of the” two graft cases filed before the Sandiganbayan against the late Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong in connection with his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The Office of the Ombudsman filed the cases before the Sandiganbayan in October against Datumanong — who passed away in February — and several other individuals.

“Under Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code, the death of the accused before final judgment totally extinguishes criminal liability,” the prosecution said in part in a Compliance and Manifestation filed on November 29.

“As such, the prosecution does not object to the dismissal of the instant cases against accused Datumanong,” it said.


However, according to the prosecution, Datumanong’s name “should remain in the” charge sheets “in view of the allegation of conspiracy between him and” the other individuals who were charged.

Datumanong’s lawyer filed a Motion and Manifestation seeking the dismissal of the cases because of the lawmaker’s death and seeking the removal of his name as one of the accused.

On November 10, the court gave the prosecution until November 30 to verify his death and to submit a report.

“Upon verification with the Philippine Statistics Authority, the prosecution confirms the fact of death of accused Datumanong, who appeared to have died on 28 February 2017 at the Philippine Heart Center…,” the prosecution said in part in the Compliance and Manifestation filed on November 29.

The Ombudsman filed the first graft case — which covered the period “May 2012 to December 2012, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto” — against Datumanong, former National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Mehol Sadain, and three other individuals who were then from the NCMF at the time material to the case, namely: former Acting Chief Accountant Fedelina Aldanese, Aurora Aragon-Mabang, and then-Cashier Olga Galido.

It filed the second graft case, which covered the period “May 2012 to February 2013, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto,” against Datumanong, Sadain, then-NCMF Director III Galay Makalinggan, Aldanese, Mabang, and Galido.

Gracita Cecilia Mascenon-Sales and Queenie Rodriguez — who were identified in the charge sheets as then-president and then-project manager/then-assistant treasurer, respectively, of the Maharlikang Lipi Foundation, Incorporated (MLFI) — were among the accused in both graft cases.

The Ombudsman alleged in part in the first graft case that before the memorandum of agreement was executed, Sadain, Aldanese, Mabang, and Galido “unquestioningly and without the conduct of a competitive bidding or an NGO selection process as required by law, processed, signed or approved the unnumbered and undated Disbursement Voucher (DV) amounting to PhP3,420,000.00 and its supporting documents in favor of MLFI, and released check No. 446187 dated 31 July 2012 to MLFI, signed by Sadain and Galido, without said accused [then-]NCMF officers/[then-]employees having carefully examined and verified the selection of MLFI as well as the transaction’s supporting documents.”

The Ombudsman alleged in the second graft case that Sadain, Makalinggan, Aldanese, Mabang, and Galido “unquestioningly and without the conduct of a competitive bidding or an NGO selection process as required by law, processed, signed or approved the unnumbered” DV dated February 13, 2013 “amounting to P266,000.00 and its supporting documents in favor of MLFI, and released check No. 84530 dated 14 February 2013 to MLFI, signed by Sadain and Galido, without accused [then-]NCMF officers/[then-]employees having carefully examined and verified the selection of MLFI as well as the transaction’s supporting documents.”

Rodriguez, supposedly “acting for and in behalf of the MLFI,” allegedly received the two checks.

 

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