By Czarina Nicole Ong
The prosecution is asking the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to reconsider its acquittal of Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr.
Baguilat was earlier cleared of his graft charges after the court granted his motion to dismiss due to the Office of the Ombudsman’s delay in the conduct of the preliminary investigation against him.
He was earlier slapped with violations of Section 3(e) and (g) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for conspiring with private individual Jose Man Singh when he was still the governor of Ifugao.
Baguilat reportedly gave Singh unwarranted benefits when he entered into a contract with him for the purchase of a second-hand Isuzu Wagon Trooper worth P900,000 back in March 2003 without the conduct of a competitive public bidding.
But because the complaint was filed on September 24, 2009 and the case only reached the Sandiganbayan on February 9, 2018, the court dismissed his charges due to inordinate delay.
In its motion for reconsideration, the prosecution argued that there were “compelling reasons” that prompted them to conduct further proceedings, so the delay incurred was justified.
“There is a need to implead as respondents Jose Man Singh and the members of the Committee on Awards,” the prosecution stressed. “In addition, respondent Baguilat, members of the Committee on Awards and vendor Jose Man Singh should also be charged with the offense of malversation through falsification of public documents.”
The prosecution said that they already took into account the due process of Baguilat, and they cannot ignore the additional charges just so they could end the investigation within a limited time frame.
“Thus, it can be deduced that the preliminary investigation of these cases was not attended by vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays, thus within a reasonable period of time in accordance with A.O. 07, s1990, the Rules and Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, and other internal policies on the matter,” the MR read.