By Czarina Nicole Ong
The Sandiganbayan Second Division has denied the motion for leave to file demurrer filed by former Mayor Lucio Barcela Uera of Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija because it is devoid of merit.
Filing a demurrer to evidence is an act contesting that the evidence offered in the case is insufficient. If the court grants it, then the case would be dropped.
But since the motion to file is denied, Uera is still free to file his demurrer to evidence. However, filing a demurrer means he is waiving his right to present evidence.
Uera was earlier charged with two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Records showed that in February 2005, Uera reportedly took advantage of his official position by terminating the services of several municipal employees without any legal justification.
The prosecution said this was in violation of Civil Service Law and Rules. As a result, the employees were prejudiced “in terms of their salaries, benefits and privileges attached to their respective positions.”
In his motion, Uera insisted that the evidence presented by the prosecution is insufficient for conviction.
In response, the prosecution presented as witnesses several officials of the municipality who testified to the authenticity of the documents offered by the prosecution.
They are Social Worker Officer II Jacqueline Parica, Human Resource Management Officer IV Helen Laysa, and employee Antonio Capia.
After a careful study, the Sandiganbayan decided to deny Uera’s motion since the evidence adduced by the prosecution – both testimonial and documentary – appear to be prima facie sufficient to sustain a conviction, unless successfully rebutted by defense evidence.
The three-page resolution was signed by Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. with the concurrence of Associate Justices Alex Quiroz and Kevin Vivero.