Prosecution urges Sandiganbayan: Don’t defer Andaya’s arraignment » Manila Bulletin News

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Prosecution urges Sandiganbayan: Don’t defer Andaya’s arraignment

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By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki

The Office of the Special Prosecutor is hoping that the Sandiganbayan won’t change its mind about having former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) chief and current Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. be arraigned on April 22.

The anti-graft court’s Third Division already denied his motion to quash on March, and his deferment of arraignment on March 6. Andaya then filed his motion for reconsideration, which the prosecution received on March 26.

Andaya maintained that the charges against him were ambiguous, and undeniably lacked all the details needed for him to properly defend himself. Even if the charges sufficiently alleged the nature and cause of the accusations against him, Andaya said he still deserved the right to request for his bill of particulars.

A bill of particulars is described as a detailed, formal and written statement of charges or claims by the prosecution.
But in its opposition, the prosecution said that the Informations against Andaya contained all the averments sufficient for validity.

“Despite being rebuffed several times, accused Andaya still insists in the instant Motion that the subject Informations should contain more details and specifics,” it read.

“Plaintiff submits that there is no reason for the Honorable Court to revisit its prior rulings,” it added.

The prosecution added that Andaya’s motion should be denied outright since it was filed out of time, according to the Guidelines for Continuous Trial. He filed it 10 days beyond the reglementary period, and neither he nor his lawyer was able to offer any persuasive justification for the delay.

Even if the court would not resolve the motion based on the violation of continuous trial, the prosecution said it should still be denied since it did not raise any new or persuasive argument.

“The matter of the completeness and validity of the subject Informations had already been litigated many times over and settled by this Honorable Court,” the opposition stated. “Nothing in accused Andaya’s arguments in his most recent motion should compel this Honorable Court to abandon its previous rulings.”

Andaya even said that the charge sheets made a “very tenuous theory” about conspiracy. Despite his belief that this was enough ground for the dismissal of his charges, the prosecution stressed that proof of such conspiracy should be presented during trial.

Andaya has been slapped with 97 violations of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and another 97 violations of Article 217 in relation to Article 171(2) and 48 of the Revised Penal Code due to his involvement in the P900 million Malampaya fund scam from 2009 to 2010.

Back in 2009, it was agreed that P900 million from the special Malampaya fund was to be used to help farmers who were affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. However, the funds were somehow diverted to the fake non-government organizations (NGOs) headed by Janet Lim Napoles.

Andaya reportedly approved the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR’s) fund request and signed the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and Notice of Cash Allocation requested by his co-accused, former Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, even before checking with the DBM’s budget and management bureau.

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