Sandigan denies dismissal bid of Bohol mayor
by Allan Yves Briones
The Sandiganbayan 6th Division denied the motion for leave filed by Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero in her graft case Saturday.
“After a thorough review of the records of the case and the evidence submitted by the Prosecution, the Court finds that, if unrebutted, the same is sufficient to support a verdict of guilty,” the anti-graft court stated in a resolution.
The mayor was charged with violations of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 and Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code over alleged illegal appointments of losing candidates to official posts in the aftermath of the 2013 National and Local Elections.
The appointment of losing candidates is prohibited under Section 6, Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution and Section 94 of the Local Government Code.
In her motion, the mayor claimed that the prosecution failed to present any written and signed appointment papers, and that there was no “undue injury amounting to actual damages” to the government since payment was made in exchange for services rendered.
The court also recognized the counter-arguments made by the prosecution, claiming that they were able to establish that the mayor appointed the aforementioned candidates “with evident bad faith, manifest partiality, and gross inexcusable negligence.”
To which the court maintained that their arguments are best received during trial, but if Montero wishes to file a demurrer to evidence, she is deemed to have waived her right to present evidence.
A demurrer to evidence is tantamount to a dismissal of the case.
The resolution was written by Associate Justice Karl Miranda, concurred by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez and Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero. #