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Vitangcol asks Sandiganbayan to admonish prosecution for violating gag order

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By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Former Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 General Manager Al Sanchez Vitangcol III is asking the Sandiganbayan Third Division to admonish the Office of the Prosecutor because they are “resorting to the bar of public opinion to sway their way towards his conviction.”

MB FILE—Sacked MRT general manager Al Vitangcol speaks during a hearing of the House committee on good government and public accountability on the alleged extortion attempt, at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, May 27, 2014. Vitangcol dismissed as lies Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar's allegation that top MRT officials tried to extort $30 million from the Czech company Inekon Group in exchange for the contract to supply 48 trains for the MRT 3 expansion. (Mark Balmores) MANILA BULLETIN

Al Vitangcol
(Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Vitangcol was earlier charged with violations of Sections 3(e) and 3(h) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 65(c)(1) of the Government Procurement Reform Act for being partial to PH Trams and CB and T Joint Venture in the awarding of the MRT3 maintenance contract back in October 2012.

He did not disclose that Pangasinan provincial accountant Arturo Vallo Soriano, one of the directors of PH Trams, is actually his wife’s uncle.

On November 15, 2018, he filed a manifestation of grave concern with motion. In it, he cited two news articles – one from CNN Philippines and another from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The former stated that the prosecution has presented enough evidence to prove his guilt, while the latter said that Vitangcol cannot downplay the role he played in the whole negotiation process.

Vitangcol claimed that the prosecution released these documents to the media to gain mileage in their case against him. In doing so, Vitangcol said the prosecution violated the gag order issued by the anti-graft court in its order dated April 19, 2016, which called on all parties involved from discussing the merits of the case.

But after reviewing Vitangcol’s manifestation, the anti-graft court came to the conclusion that it was without merit. “There does not appear to be a clear and specific indication that their sources were from any member of the prosecution panel,” the resolution read.

“Neither does it show that the information…came from the Office of the Ombudsman or the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Clearly, the allegations are by themselves bare and without any evidentiary support,” it added.

Despite denying Vitangcol’s manifestation with motion, the Sandiganbayan reminded both the prosecution and defense of its gag order “for strict compliance.”

The four-page resolution was penned by Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez with the concurrence of Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez.

Former Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 General Manager Al Sanchez Vitangcol III is asking the Sandiganbayan Third Division to admonish the Office of the Prosecutor because they are “resorting to the bar of public opinion to sway their way towards his conviction.”

Vitangcol was earlier charged with violations of Sections 3(e) and 3(h) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 65(c)(1) of the Government Procurement Reform Act for being partial to PH Trams and CB and T Joint Venture in the awarding of the MRT3 maintenance contract back in October 2012.

He did not disclose that Pangasinan provincial accountant Arturo Vallo Soriano, one of the directors of PH Trams, is actually his wife’s uncle.

On November 15, 2018, he filed a manifestation of grave concern with motion. In it, he cited two news articles – one from CNN Philippines and another from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The former stated that the prosecution has presented enough evidence to prove his guilt, while the latter said that Vitangcol cannot downplay the role he played in the whole negotiation process.

Vitangcol claimed that the prosecution released these documents to the media to gain mileage in their case against him. In doing so, Vitangcol said the prosecution violated the gag order issued by the anti-graft court in its order dated April 19, 2016, which called on all parties involved from discussing the merits of the case.

But after reviewing Vitangcol’s manifestation, the anti-graft court came to the conclusion that it was without merit. “There does not appear to be a clear and specific indication that their sources were from any member of the prosecution panel,” the resolution read.

“Neither does it show that the information…came from the Office of the Ombudsman or the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Clearly, the allegations are by themselves bare and without any evidentiary support,” it added.

Despite denying Vitangcol’s manifestation with motion, the Sandiganbayan reminded both the prosecution and defense of its gag order “for strict compliance.”

The four-page resolution was penned by Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez with the concurrence of Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez.

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