By Czarina Ong Ki
As far as the Sandiganbayan is concerned, the evidence against former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director Alan Purisima in his perjury case is sufficient enough to render a guilty verdict.
The anti-graft court’s Second Division denied his motion for leave to file a demurrer to evidence, which is an act contesting that the prosecution’s evidence is insufficient. If the court grants it, then his case would be dismissed.
However, his motion was denied “as the testimonial and documentary evidence presented by the prosecution, unless successfully rebutted by the accused, appear to be prima facie sufficient to support a finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt,” the court ruled.
Purisima has been slapped with eight charges in violation of Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code due to his failure to declare the properties of his wife, Maria Ramona Lydia Purisima, in his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN) for the years 2006 to 2009, as well as 2011 to 2014.
Even before the court granted or dismissed his motion, Purisima already submitted his demurrer. There, he stressed that the third element of perjury – that accused him of making a willful and deliberate assertion of falsehood – is clearly lacking.
Purisima reasoned that none of the prosecution’s witnesses personally know him or his family, so they have no personal knowledge as to the preparation of his SALNs or its contents.
At the same time, Purisima said that the prosecution failed to issue subpoenas to secure copies of his SALNs filed with the Office of the President. As a result, there is an insufficiency in their evidence.
“By failing to send a subpoena to the Office of the President, the prosecution failed to show that such Office informed accused that his SALNs were not properly filed,” the demurrer stated.
“Consequently, accused was never advised of any infirmity in his SALNs by the Office of the President. Due to such lack of notice, accused had the right to assume that his SALNs were correct and properly filed,” it added.
But the court was not swayed. His demurrer is merely noted without further action. Should he choose to submit his demurrer even though there is no leave of court, he would be waiving his right to present evidence.