By Czarina Nicole Ong
Cebu 3rd District Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia is urging the Sandiganbayan Second Division to terminate the prosecution’s presentation of all its remaining witnesses on or before February 28, 2019.
She filed a motion to reiterate and resolve her motion to apply the revised guidelines on continuous trial. In it, she said that no order has been issued with regards to her wish for a continuous trial.
Garcia “prays that, the issue being ripe for disposition and being submitted for resolution since January 7, 2019, be immediately resolved by this Honorable Court so as not to further prejudice [her] constitutional right as an accused to a speedy trial.”
In her original motion, Garcia stated that her case has been pending since 2013 and the prosecution began presenting witnesses on June 21, 2016, which is 926 days prior to the filing of the motion. So far, Garcia said that only 78 witnesses have been presented.
She accused the prosecution of incurring delays in the presentation of evidence. Garcia said that there is urgency for the court to resolve her motion, given the upcoming 2019 elections.
“Apart from the prejudice to Congresswoman Garcia’s constitutional rights as an accused, the truth is that her political opponents have used this pending case to continually and unfairly besmirch her reputation,” her motion read.
“Her political opponent for the Governor of the Province of Cebu in the upcoming 2019 elections, former Vice Governor Agnes Almendras Magpale, has used this case for blatant political mileage,” it added.
Garcia was charged with two counts of graft and one count of malversation in relation to the reportedly anomalous purchase of 24.92 hectares of beachfront property in Tiga-an, Naga, Cebu worth P98.9 million back in 2008.
Garcia earlier filed a motion to dismiss and claimed that her right to speedy disposition of cases has been violated since it took the Office of the Ombudsman almost three years just to conduct its preliminary investigation.
However, the court denied her motion because nothing in the records showed how the said delay can be considered vexatious, capricious or oppressive.