Sandigandayan drops raps vs DBM execs

By , on September 2, 2014

Sandiganbayan Building along Commonwealth, Quezon City. Photo courtesy of DGR Law Offices.
Sandiganbayan Building along Commonwealth, Quezon City. Photo courtesy of DGR Law Offices.

MANILA – Several corruption charges against officials and employees of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)  were recently dropped by the Sandiganbayan.

The anti-graft court found no probable cause in the eight graft charges against Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and his subordinates Rosario Salamida Nuñez, Lalaine Narag Paule and Marilou Dialino Bare.

In an eight-page resolution by the Sandiganbayan’s First Division, the court said there is no probable cause to try the four officials accused after finding that Relampagos did not sign the special allotment orders (Saros) cited in the dismissed charges.

“A second look at the records of this case shows that only five of the 12 Saros mentioned in the Ombudsman’s Joint Resolution dated March 31 were signed by accused Relampagos …. All the remaining seven Saros were signed by then DBM Secretary Rolando Andaya,” the resolution, penned by Associate Justice Rafael Lagos, read.

“Consequently, all the information that rely on these seven Saros signed by Andaya as a basis to indict Relampagos et al. should be dismissed,” it said.

The four were accused of allegedly administering the release of the pork barrel for the projects of their coaccused, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr.

The prosecutors, were, however, asked by the court to submit additional evidence that will further prove the involvement of the four officials in the graft charges.

The court was also not convinced that the accused received kickbacks.

“On the contrary, Benhur Luy’s statement before the Senate hearings establishes that he did not know whether anybody at the DBM received anything. Thus, the prosecution needs to submit additional evidence on these matters,” the resolution read.