Sandiganbayan denies motion to quash of ex-Occidental Mindoro mayor’s graft case

Published August 24, 2018, 1:23 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Czarina Nicole Ong

The Sandiganbayan Second Division has decided to proceed to trial with the graft charges against former Santa Cruz mayor Filemon Mamaril Galsim of Occidental Mindoro in relation to the reportedly anomalous purchase of a property.

(MANILA BULLETIN)
(MANILA BULLETIN)

Galsim was accused of violating Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when he bought for the municipality a 2,123-square meter lot situated in Poblacion II, Sta. Cruz, owned by Teresita Asis Mercene worth P702.70 per square meter.

The total transaction amounted to P1,491,832, but prosecutors said this was manifestly disadvantageous to the government since the approved market value was fixed at P580 per square meter. As a result, undue injury was caused to the government at the amount of P260,492.10.

Galsim filed a motion to quash on August 7 and argued that the charge does not constitute an offense, and he claimed that the Information filed against him is not supported by evidence adduced during the preliminary investigation.

However, the anti-graft court found sufficient information for the offense of graft. “They contain all the elements of the violation,” the resolution read. “As to whether the prosecution will be able to prove the allegations, the same shall be determined after the presentation of evidence during the trial of the case.”

The three-page resolution was signed by Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. with the concurrence of Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Lorifel Pahimna.

Just last year, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division acquitted Galsim of his other graft case involving the reportedly anomalous procurement of petroleum oil and lubricants in 2013 due to lack of probable cause.

Galsim was accused of giving undue advantage and preference to his “balae,” or the parent of his son or daughter-in-law, Lydia Rodriguez, when he awarded the said procurement to R4 Fuel Refilling Station, which is owned by Rodriguez. He did so even without conducting competitive bidding.

He was accused of resorting to other alternative modes of procurement prescribed by R.A. 9184, since Galsim reportedly failed to obtain other price quotations from prospective suppliers and failed to determine the most advantageous price for the municipality.

However, the court said that the prosecution failed to provide documents that showed that a transaction was indeed made from R4 Fuel Refilling Station, “which is the heart of the charge,” the decision reads.

Given the lack of adequate supporting documents, the court said it has no choice but to dismiss Galsim’s charge since bare allegations will not be enough for the court to proceed to trial.

 
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