FILE PHOTO: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales
MANILA – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales is dismayed by the slow progress of cases her office filed at the Sandiganbayan.
In a press conference yesterday, Morales particularly identified the trial of the cases against three former senators relative to the pork barrel scam.
It has been three years but there have been no trials on the plunder and graft cases of former senator Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile due to the delaying tactics of their respective camps.
“There are so many many motions. If the motions are not that many probably we could have started trying the case by now, but there are so many motions,” Morales said.
Just this year, the Ombudsman said, the Sandiganbayan has dismissed 26 cases due to the doctrine of inordinate delay.
This refers to the rights of an accused to a speedy trial.
For this reason, the Ombudsman filed a petition at the Supreme Court to revise some provisions in the doctrine.
“Especially this year, with the new justices of the Sandiganbayan, they kept on dismissing cases due to inordinate delay, and everyone was invoking inordinate delay. That, to us, was the last straw. So we asked the Supreme Court to move the case from the division to bring it to the en banc for the en banc to decide or revise or revisit or reverse the inordinate law doctrine,” Morales added.
The Ombudsman is asking the Supreme Court to order the Sandiganbayan to no longer include the conduct of fact finding in its duration count.
It is because fact finding is the longest process in its investigation of corruption cases.
The Ombudsman said there is also a lack of prosecutor lawyers, another reason for its longer process in its fact finding investigation.
She also stressed that the lawyers of the accused, sometimes do delaying tactics which further delays the hearings of cases.
The Ombudsman said it can refile the cases which have been dismissed due to inordinate delays since most of the cases have not been heard yet.
“The cases were dismissed even before arraignment has been held, so nothing would prevent us from refiling the case if need be,” Morales stated.
The Office of the Ombudsman is hoping the Supreme Court will hear its request. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue
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