By Czarina Nicole Ong
The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has denied the bid of Aurora Governor Gerardo Noveras to quash his graft charge in relation to the reportedly anomalous infrastructure project taken back in 2014.
Noveras and six other provincial officials were charged for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for giving undue advantage to private individual Manding Claro Ramos of RMCR Construction by awarding it the contract for the repair of the Dimalang Bridge Approach of the Casiguran-Dilasag Provincial Road and the Road Section of the Casiguran-Dilasag Provincial Road.
The award was made even though there was no public bidding conducted for it. In fact, Noveras and his co-accused reportedly “rigged the bidding process” for the said transaction, since RMCR had already implemented and almost completed the repair projects even before the procurement process was concluded.
In his motion to quash, Noveras argued that the facts charged in the Information do not constitute an offense because the element of undue injury was not alleged. At the same time, Noveras added that there is no probable cause to indict him of the crime.
However, the anti-graft court decided to junk his motion because it is “devoid of merit.” The Sandiganbayan explained that the Information need only state the ultimate facts constituting the offense, and not the finer details of why and how the crime was committed.
Contrary to what Noveras said, the Sandiganbayan also found that all the elements of graft were sufficiently alleged in the Information.
“The Information need not allege ‘causing undue injury to any party’ in addition to the allegation of ‘giving any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference,'” the court ruled.
The nine-page resolution was penned by Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez with the concurrence of Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Kevin Narce Vivero.