By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has denied the demurrer to evidence filed by former Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Deputy Administrator Virgilio Ocaya in relation to the double compensation he reportedly received back in 2002.
A demurrer to evidence is an act made by the defense arguing that the prosecution’s evidence is weak or insufficient to reach a conviction.
Ocaya has been slapped with a violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, since he reportedly received additional employment compensation worth P240,000 from the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
On July 18, the anti-graft court issued a resolution and denied his motion for leave to file demurrer. Ocaya filed a motion for reconsideration on August 9 while the prosecution filed an opposition on August 14.
In his MR, Ocaya pointed out that the position of Deputy Administrator of the Regulatory Office was created through a concession agreement between the government and the water concessionaries. Because of this, the position is not a public office.
He further stressed that no evidence was specifically offered to prove that the position of Deputy Administrator is indeed a public office.
Ocaya added that there was no evidence proving that he received his “first compensation” from the Regulatory Office and that he obtained additional employment and compensation from the PCGG while he was serving as Deputy Administrator of the Regulatory Office.
But after a careful reevaluation of the evidence of the prosecution and the arguments of the accused, the anti-graft court ruled that the evidence of the prosecution is sufficiently established.
“The presence or absence of the elements of the crime is evidentiary in nature and is a matter of defense that may be passed upon after a full-blown trial of the merits,” the resolution stated.
“The validity and merits of a party’s defense or accusation, as well as the admissibility of testimonies of evidence, are better ventilated during trial proper,” it added.
The five-page resolution was written by Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez with the concurrence of Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Kevin Narce Vivero.