FORMER Gov. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr. asked the Sandiganbayan to rein a warrant for his arrest since a motion he filed has yet to be resolved.
Villafuerte said in a three-page motion that his warrant of arrest should not be issued because of his unresolved plea to determine probable cause in his three-count graft over P20-million purchase of gasoline bought allegedly without public bidding.
This plea followed after the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s affirmed the charges when state prosecutors denied his motion for reconsideration.
With his criminal cases now solid, the Sandiganbayan is tasked to determine probable cause, which will be the basis of the issuance of warrant of arrest.
However, since the motion to determine probable cause is not yet resolved, the defense said that any directive from the bench to have Villafuerte arrested is still premature.
“In order not to preempt the [Sandiganbayan’s] decision, Villafuerte most respectfully moves that pending its [motion]resolution with finality, the issuance of the warrant of arrest be held in abeyance,” Villafuerte said.
He also asked the court to grant him a favorable decision and to throw out the case for lack of merit.
The Office of the Ombudsman slapped the former provincial chief in July with three counts of graft together with Jeffrey Lo, proprietor of Naga Fuel Express Zone, who was paid for the petrol products but were allegedly not released to the provincial hall.
The charge sheets showed that Villafuerte bought petroleum products in three tranches in 2010: P5 million on January 22; P5 million between January 7 and 23; and another P10 million on April 7.