Sandiganbayan junks plea of former DOF officials, private persons to dismiss graft, falsification charges

Published February 18, 2021, 2:29 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Sandiganbayan has denied the plea to dismiss the criminal charges filed against former Department of Finance (DOF) evaluator Purita S. Napeñas, supervising tax specialist Asuncion M. Magdaet, and several private individuals.

Sandiganbayan (MANILA BULLETIN)

It ruled that the pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution “appear to be prima facie (at first view) sufficient for the conviction of the accused, unless successfully rebutted by defense evidence.” 

Napeñas, Magdaet, and the private individuals are the co-accused of former DOF Undersecretary Antonio Belicena and then Deputy Executive Director Uldarico Andutan Jr. in the cases involving violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and falsification under the Revised Penal Code.

They allegedly gave unwarranted benefits in 1996 to Nikko Textile Mills, Inc. and the firm’s officers — Charles Uy Chiu, Yu Chin Tong, Mary Uy Yu, and Emerito Guballa — by processing and approving a tax credit certificate amounting to P2,411,773.

The prosecution claimed that the tax credit on the raw materials issued to Nikko Textile was falsely represented and, thus, caused undue injury to the government.

In their demurrer to evidence, Napeñas, Magdaet, and the Nikko Textile representatives argued that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to prove the elements of the crimes charged.

A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence presented by the prosecutors. Should the court grant it, the case is automatically dismissed and the accused is acquitted of the offense charged.

If the demurrer is denied, the accused has to present his or her evidence for the court to assess the guilt or innocence.

In a resolution written by Associate Justice Oscar C. Herrera Jr., the Sandiganbayan said:

“The Court meticulously reviewed the records. The Court finds that the evidence presented by the prosecution, testimonial and documentary, appear to be prima facie sufficient for the conviction of the accused, unless successfully rebutted by defense evidence,” it said.

Associate Justices Michael Frederick L. Musngi and Bayani H. Jacinto concurred in the resolution.