Aurora Gov. Noveras to undergo trial for graft case — Sandiganbayan

Published June 21, 2021, 12:07 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Sandiganbayan

The Sandiganbayan has stood pat on its ruling that Aurora Gov. Gerardo A. Noveras should undergo trial on the graft case filed against him.

In a resolution, the anti-graft court has affirmed its earlier denial of Noveras’ plea to file a demurrer to evidence to dismiss his case.

A demurrer to evidence is a pleading to dismiss a criminal charge on allegation of the weakness of the prosecution’s evidence. If granted by the court, the accused is acquitted. If denied, the accused has to stand trial and present his evidence to rebut those of the prosecution’s.

“After a careful restudy of the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by the prosecution, the Court still finds that, if unrebutted, the same is prima facie sufficient to support a verdict of guilt against Noveras,” the Sandiganbayan said in a resolution written by Associate Justice Sarah Jane T. Fernandez with the concurrence of Associate Justices Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero.

“The Court finds no reason to depart from its earlier ruling,” it ruled.

In his motion to reconsider the denial on the filing of a demurrer to evidence, Noveras claimed that there was no sufficient proof to show his participation in the offense charged.

In denying his motion, the Sandiganbayan warned that if Noveras decides to file his demurrer without leave of court (without permission), he will be waiving his right to present his evidence and the charge against him will be submitted for decision.

Noveras was charged with graft due to the reportedly irregular repair of a bridge and a road section in 2014.

The prosecution alleged that from March to Sept. 2014, Noveras and his co-accused conspired with one another and gave undue advantage to RMCR Construction by awarding it the contract for the repair of the Dimalang Bridge Approach of the Casiguran-Dilasag Provincial Road and the Road Section of the Casiguran-Dilasag Provincial Road without public bidding.

It also alleged that Noveras and his group “rigged the bidding process” for the said transaction since RMCR had already implemented and almost completed the repair projects even before the procurement process was concluded.

Noveras’ co-accused are Provincial Administrator Simeon De Castro, Provincial General Services Officer Ricardo Bautista, Provincial Budget Officer Norma Clemente, Provincial Legal Officer Paz Torregosa, Assistant Provincial Engineer Benedicto Rojo, Executive Assistant IV Isaias Noveras Jr., and private individual Manding Claro Ramos of RMCR Construction.

 
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