By Czarina Nicole O. Ong
Ombudsman prosecutors have opposed the motion filed by former Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Nur Misuari to dismiss the graft and malversation charges filed against him before the Sandiganbayan.
The prosecutors said the arguments raised by Misuari are details that should be threshed out during the trial of the cases.
Misuari has been charged with two graft and two malversation through falsification cases in connection with purchases of educational packages and materials from 2000 to 2001.
In opposing the motion to dismiss, the prosecutors said on Misuari’s arguments:
“These are matters of defense which are within the Honorable Court’s judicial authority to appreciate and rule upon only after a full-blown trial. The grounds relied upon by the accused are questions of fact which should be established by evidence during the trial proper.”
They pointed out that the criminal charge sheet (information) filed before the court “only needs to state the ultimate facts constituting the offense, not the finer details of why and how the illegal acts alleged amounted to undue injury or damage — matters that are appropriate for the trial.”
In his motion to dismiss, Misuari told the anti-graft court that the alleged irregular acts he was charged with took place during the term of his successor.
He said that based on records obtained from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the payments for the alleged irregular transactions were done during the term of Governor Parouk Hussein from September 30, 2002 to September 30, 2005.
At the same time, he said there was no conspiracy between him and his co-accused, since he was in detention for more than six years since Jan. 7, 2002 until his release in 2008 when he was finally granted bail.
He lamented the delay in the conduct of the preliminary investigation and the filing of the criminal charges against him before the Sandiganbayan.
He said the complaints were brought to the Ombudsman for investigation on Nov. 6, 2013. Even without conducting a preliminary investigation, the charges were filed with the Sandiganbayan on May 5, 2017, he added.
But the prosecutors said it is “improper” for Misuari to include the period from the time the complaint was filed until the conclusion of the reinvestigation in the computation for purposes of determining the existence of inordinate delay.
“The period between the filing of the complaint up to the time he received the order directing him to file his counter-affidavit cannot be included in the computation for purposes of determining the existence of inordinate delay since during the period, no prejudice or anxiety can be caused to him because he is not even aware of the existence of the complaint,” they said.