By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
The Sandiganbayan Second Division refused the motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence filed by former Tawi-Tawi governor Sadikul Adalla Sahali, seeking to challenge the prosecution’s evidence in his criminal charges as insufficient.
Sahali has been charged for violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, also known as malversation of public funds.
This was for the reportedly anomalous purchase of fertilizers and insecticides in the total amount of P1,750,000 for distribution to farmer beneficiaries in the province of Tawi-Tawi back in December 2004.
Sahali and his co-accused, former Provincial Accountant Eldie Lemosnero and Provincial General Services Officer Al Bakri Abdullaj Pilihan, made it appear that Meg Agrivet Supplies was the purported winning bidder and supplier and that the products were distributed. However, no such procurement and distribution were made.
In his motion, Sahali basically contended that the evidence presented by the prosecution was insufficient for conviction. However, the anti-graft court was unconvinced.
“After a meticulous review of the records, the court finds that the evidence adduced by the prosecution, testimonial and documentary, appear to be prima facie sufficient for conviction of the accused of the offenses charged, unless successfully rebutted by defense evidence,” the court ruled.
The four-page resolution was penned by Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. with the concurrence of Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Lorifel Pahimna.