By Czarina Ong Ki
The Sandiganbayan Third Division refused to quash the graft charge filed against former Baliwag Mayor Carolina Lacson Dellosa of Bulacan in relation to the reportedly irregular purchase of a vehicle back in 2014.
Dellosa was accused of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in the charge sheet filed by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer I Rhey David Daway.
On August 27, 2014, Dellosa reportedly gave unwarranted benefits to Freeway Motor Sales of Baliuag Corp. by approving the award for the contract for the procurement of a 2.0L Mitsubishi Active Sports Crossover.
The approval was made despite the fact that a specified brand name was made by the bids and awards committee (BAC), which is in violation of R.A. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
She filed a motion to quash on July 22, 2019. She prayed for the dismissal of the graft charge on the grounds that the facts charged did not constitute an offense.
Dellosa explained that the element of actual damage was necessary in committing the crime. In this case, the charge sheet filed against her failed to indicate the damage caused to the government or any other party.
She likewise prayed for the dismissal of the case on the ground that her right to speedy disposition of the case has been violated. Dellosa contended that it took the Office of the Ombudsman almost two years to resolve and file the case before the Sandiganbayan, given that the case involved a relatively simple issue with minimal documents.
But contrary to her claims, the anti-graft court found that the charge sheet filed against her was sufficient in form. As for the alleged failure of the prosecution to point out the injured party, the court explained that it was not required.
“It must be emphasized that she is charged with [graft] under the second mode, having given unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to Freeway Motor Sales of Baliuag Corp., and under the second mode, damage is not required,” the resolution stated.
There was also no violation to her right to speedy disposition of case, the court said. The time it took the Ombudsman to file the case can hardly be considered an unreasonable delay as to deprive accused Dellosa of her constitutional right to the speedy disposition of her case.
Dellosa waited until the charge was filed before the Sandiganbayan before raising the issue of the alleged delay, despite having the opportunity to do so during the investigation.
The six-page resolution was penned by Associate Justice Ronald Moreno with the concurrence of Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez.