MANILA—The Sandiganbayan has found probable cause to proceed with the trial of former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) chair Efraim Genuino for the perjury charges filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman).
In a 21-page resolution promulgated on March 1, 2017, the Sandiganbayan Third Division dismissed Genuino’s claim that the evidence submitted to the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan does not make liable for perjury.
“A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and that it was committed by the accused,” the resolution said.
The Sandiganbayan said that the issues raised by Genuino “are matters of defense which are best ventilated and passed upon during the trial of the case.”
Likewise, the Sandiganbayan disagreed with the argument of Genuino that the Ombudsman violated his right to due process and speedy disposition of case.
Genuino argued that it took the Ombudsman almost four years before they were able to file the case before the Sandiganbayan.
However, the Sandiganbayan said that it did not find anything in their records suggesting that there was a deliberate delay in the case on the part of the Ombudsman.
“There is nothing in the record of these cases which suggests, even faintly, that the attendant delay was deliberately employed by the prosecution in order to hamper or prejudice the defense of the accused-movant or to gain some tactical advantage over him,” the Sandiganbayan said.
Genuino is facing four counts of perjury for allegedly failing to disclose properties under his and his wife’s name in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) from 2002 to 2005, when he was still with the PAGCOR.
In its complaint, the Ombudsman alleged that Genuino undervalued his assets by leaving out information about some of his properties even as he upheld its contents under oath.
The properties which the former PAGCOR chief omitted in his SALN were four lots in Makati City, one lot in Muntinlupa City and another two lots in Laguna province.
The Sandiganbayan set the arraignment of Genuino on April 25, 2017.
Likewise, Genuino is also facing trial for the graft cases filed against him over the alleged anomalous release of Php HP37 million funds for the training of swimmers competing in the 2012 Olympics.