Sandigan denies Ampatuan Jr.’s plea to challenge evidence in graft charges


The Sandiganbayan has denied the motion of former mayor Datu Andal Uy Ampatuan Jr. to file a demurrer to evidence that would challenge the prosecution’s evidence and seek the dismissal of the 21 counts of graft charges filed against him.

The graft charges against Ampatuan Jr. arose from the purchase by the Maguindanao provincial government during the time of his late father and former governor Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. of P238.3 million worth of fuel and lubricants from the gasoline station the former owned.

On account of his death, the charges against Ampatuan Sr. had been dismissed.

The other co-accused in the graft charges are former provincial accountant John Estelito Dollosa Jr., treasurer Osmena Bandila, and the late engineer Landap Guinaid whose cases had been dismissed.

Ampatuan Jr. had been convicted of 58 counts of murder in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

In his motion to file a demurrer, Ampatuan Jr. claimed that the prosecution failed to overcome the presumption of his innocence since there was not a single piece of evidence that would prove that he conspired with the public officials involved in the transactions.

He alleged that the relationship between him and Datu Sajid Ampatuan and Ampatuan Sr. is also insufficient to prove conspiracy because conspiracy transcends companionship.

On top of filing his motion belatedly, the Sandiganbayan said: “After examining the prosecution's evidence and the parties' arguments, it appears that granting... accused Ampatuan Jr.’s leave to file demurrer to evidence will merely cause delay in the proceedings.”

With the denial, Ampatuan Jr. has to present his counter-evidence during the trial of the cases.

Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division Chairperson Sarah Jane T. Fernandez wrote the 10-page resolution with the concurrence of Associate Justices Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero.

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