By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has affirmed its decision not to quash the graft charge filed against former Iloilo 5th District Rep. Rolex Suplico in relation to the reported priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam back in 2007.
He was accused of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, alongside Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) Director General Antonio Ortiz and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. President Alfredo Ronquillo.
The three of them reportedly conspired with one another from February to May 2007 with regards to the implementation of the livelihood and development projects worth P15 million for the 5th District of Iloilo, which came from the PDAF of Suplico for the year 2007.
From that amount, P14,700,000 was transferred to the non-government organization Aaron Foundation on May 4 despite several irregularities.
On January 15, the anti-graft court denied the motion to quash filed by Suplico. He then filed a motion for reconsideration, questioning the “reasonableness” of the period used by the Office of the Ombudsman in resolving the preliminary investigation against him.
He believes that the four-year fact-finding period shows the obvious neglect, if not capricious and deliberate intent to delay the proceedings. As a result, he was deprived of a speedy disposition of case.
Unfortunately for him, his MR was denied for lack of merit. “The issues raised and arguments have already been passed upon, discussed and judiciously resolved in the assailed resolution. The court finds no new matter or compelling reason that could warrant the reversal and setting aside of the resolution,” it ruled.
Suplico added that he suffered from prejudice by reason of delay because of the political machinations of his political rival, former Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo, which affected the Office of the Ombudsman.
However, the Sandiganbayan dismissed this as “mere allegations” that is not tantamount to evidence.
The seven-page resolution was penned by Chairperson Rafael Lagos with the concurrence of Associate Justices Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Maryann Corpus-Manalac.