By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
Former Maguindanao Governor Datu Sajid Islam Uy Ampatuan is asking the Sandiganbayan Third Division to reconsider quashing his graft and malversation charges and defer his scheduled arraignment on May 31.
Ampatuan has been slapped with a violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and a violation of Article 217 and 171, paragraph 2, in relation to Article 28 of the Revised Penal Code, otherwise known as Malversation through Falsification of Public Documents.
Ampatuan then filed a motion to quash with motion to defer arraignment on April 5, 2019. In it, he sought the dismissal of the cases on the ground of inordinate delay constituting a violation of his right to speedy disposition of cases. However, it was the anti-graft court.
He later filed a motion for reconsideration, and insisted that the Office of the Ombudsman failed to comply with proper procedure. “Does it really take two years, one month and 29 days to evaluate the Commission on Audit (COA) complaint regarding farm products and its supporting documents?” he questioned.
Ampatuan stressed that the count for inordinate delay should not exclude the period spent by the Ombudsman during preliminary investigation, especially since the Ombudsman’s order to file a counter-affidavit was not properly served upon Ampatuan.
“All told, the Office of the Ombudsman took three years, two months and five days, excluding the evaluation done by the present Ombudsman himself which took another six months and 14 days, for evaluation alone,” the MR read.
“If this is not inordinate delay, then woe to all other persons with pending cases before the Office of the Ombudsman who are similarly situated as the accused,” it added.
On June 3, 2009, Ampatuan reportedly conspired with his co-accused and misappropriated P98,249,850 worth of public funds. The money was supposed to be used to purchase palay, corn, seeds and fertilizers from Tamoni Enterprises. However, no such purchases were made.
Ampatuan is facing the charges alongside Provincial Agriculturist Mozibicak Guiabel, Provincial Accountant John Estelito Dollosa Jr., bids and awards committee (BAC) members Kasan Macapendeg, Osmena Bandila, Engr. Norie K. Unas, Datu Ali Abpi Al Haj, and the late Engr. Landap Guinaid.