MANILA –The Sandiganbayan has upheld the dismissal of the PHP723-million plunder case against former Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc Bolante” in connection with the alleged fertilizer fund scam.
”The prosecution must have overlooked the well-recognized power of judges to dismiss a criminal case when the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest,” the Sandiganbayan Second Division said in its ruling released on Tuesday.
”As the prosecution is wont in reminding this Court not to intrude into the former executive’s functions so must this Court also remind prosecution to refrain from interfering with the Court’s judicial functions,” the Sandiganbayan said.
Last Dec. 12, the Sandiganbayan acquitted Bolante of plunder case over the alleged misuse of PHP723-million fertilizer fund.
The anti-graft court said the prosecution failed to provide evidence that will link Bolante to plunder charges.
Last August, the prosecution submitted a 20-page judicial affidavit of “whistleblower” Jose Barredo, claiming that he was a runner in the fertilizer fund scam.
However, the Sandiganbayan found “nothing substantial” on Barredo’s statement.
The Sandiganbayan dismissed the PHP723-million fertilizer fund scam plunder case despite the chance given to the prosecution to amend the case information.
“All that is essentially stated by Barredo is the modus operandi of the scam, the persons who were offered…,” the Sandiganbayan said.
“…or had received, and how the “SOP” (Standard Operating Procedure) or commissions were distributed,” it added.
The Sandiganbayan said that Bolante was “central key player in the case but there was no proof he acquired ill-gotten wealth.”
“No material representation, other than the release of the funds, could be shown attributable to accused Bolante,” it added.
“Anent the prosecution’s insistence on the existence of probable cause, the same must be denied there being no new arguments to warrant the reversal of the Court’s previous ruling. The reasons therefor are set forth in the assailed resolution, which the Court sees no need to reiterate in this resolution,” the Sandiganbayan said.
”Wherefore, finding the Motion for Reconsideration of the resolution to be without merit, the same is hereby DENIED,” it added.