Home Headlines Sandiganbayan junks 29 cases vs. Tumang, et al

Sandiganbayan junks 29 cases vs. Tumang, et al

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — “Given the unjustified passage of a long time in the conduct of the preliminary investigation and in view of the ensuing prejudice that such delay caused to the accused, their right to the speedy disposition of their cases was violated… The complaints filed against them should be abated and dismissed.”

Thus, the 4th Division of the Sandiganbayan junked the 29 graft and malversation cases filed against Mexico Mayor Teddy C. Tumang and five other municipal officials in its resolution promulgated on Nov. 25, citing the “inordinate delay” in the investigation and filing of the cases by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman alleged that Tumang and his co-accused Perlita Lagman, municipal accountant; Marlon Maniacup, planning and development coordinator; Lucila Agento, budget officer; Jesus Punzalan, engineer; and 

Luz Bondoc, private secretary to the mayor were involved in irregularities in the procurement of construction materials in 2007 and 2008. 

However, it was only in March and July 2022 that the Ombudsman filed the cases against them.  

The Sandiganbayan resolution noted that the Ombudsman’s formal investigation of the first batch of complaints against the accused started as early as December 2017 while the investigation of the second batch of complaints started in August 2018. It was only on March 23 and July 8 this year when the cases were filed in two batches.

“The passage of time in the conduct of the preliminary investigation has already adversely affected the defense of the accused. Hence the prejudice and pernicious effect of the inordinate delay that attended the investigation into this case against the accused-movants becomes manifest,” it said. 

The Sandiganbayan likewise did not find merit in the prosecution team’s argument that the investigation was hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, thus: “The court is not persuaded that the operations within the Ombudsman were at a virtual standstill during the entire length of the period between March 2020 until October 2021.”

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