Sandiganbayan denies plea of ex-legislator to dismiss graft, malversation cases

Published March 25, 2021, 3:42 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Sandiganbayan has denied the motion of former Nueva Ecija 4th district Rep. Rodolfo W. Antonino to dismiss the graft and malversation charges filed against him.


In a resolution written by Associate Justice Kevin Narce B. Vivero, the anti-graft court junked the demurrer to evidence filed by Antonino.

A demurrer to evidence is a pleading filed by an accused in a criminal case after the prosecution has presented its evidence on allegations that the pieces of evidence presented will not sustain a verdict of conviction.

Antonino was charged in connection with the alleged misuse of his P14.55 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) when he was a member of Congress.

The criminal indictment alleged that he endorsed the P14.55 million to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) and Buhay Mo Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. (BMMKFI) as implementors of the livelihood training kits (LTK) project.

It was alleged that Antonino funded the projects with P13,095,000 and P1,455,000 coming from his PDAF even while BMMKFI was unaccredited and unqualified to undertake the project.

Antonino claimed that the prosecution did not succeed in proving the elements required to prove the violations of graft and malversation.

But the Sandiganbayan denied his motion. It said “… the arguments raised by the accused are matters of defense, the truth of which can best be passed upon in a full-blown trial on the merits.”

Associate Justice Sarah Jane T. Fernandez and Bayani H. Jacinto concurred.