By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Sandiganbayan Third Division has affirmed its decision not to quash the graft charge filed against San Francisco, Quezon Mayor Joselito Alega for his failure to release the year-end bonus and cash gift of an employee back in 2014.
Alega was accused of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, together with human resources management officer-in-charge Cesar V. Rocas, and municipal accountant Gerardo Cerrudo.
On November 26, 2014, the three were accused of conspiring with one another and acting with evident bad faith when they caused undue injury to Noel R. Castillejo in the amount of P36,852 which represented his year-end bonus and cash gift.
On March 24, 2019, the anti-graft court denied their motion to quash information with prayer to cancel arraignment and hold proceedings in abeyance. Alega and Rocas then filed their motion for reconsideration and argued that the complaint-affidavit filed by the complainant in the case has been falsified and perjured.
“Nowhere does it appear in the private complainant’s complaint-affidavit which the prosecution used as basis to issue the information that he sustained injury amounting to half of his bonus and cash gift amounting to P18,426,” the MR stated.
The accused insisted that the amended information charges no offense because the “reduction of the injury allegedly sustained by the private complainant from P36,850 to P18,426 has resulted in a change in the situation of the parties such that they are not similarly situated.”
However, the anti-graft court found their arguments devoid of merit. Their claim that the complaint-affidavit was falsified is something that is “a matter of defense which is best ventilated and passed upon during the trial of the case,” the court ruled.
The court also found that all the elements of graft have been sufficiently alleged by the prosecution. “The hard reality is that the accused-movants failed to raise matters substantially plausible or compellingly persuasive to warrant their desired course of action,” the resolution read.
The seven-page resolution was penned by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang with the concurrence of Associate Justices Bernelito Fernandez and Ronald Moreno.