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Sandiganbayan denies Herbert Bautista’s bid to dismiss graft raps

The Sandiganbayan has denied former Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista's motion to quash the information for graft filed against him and his motion to dismiss the case due to the time it took for the prosecution to charge him before the anti-graft court.

In a 15-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan Seventh Division said that the information hurdled "the test of sufficiency."

Bautista also decried the alleged violation of his constitutional right to a speedy disposition of his case, saying that the complaint against him was filed on Dec. 13, 2019 and it took more than three years to finish the preliminary investigation.

The case was only filed on March 15, 2023.

"He thus prayed for the dismissal of the instant case based on inordinate delay which violated his constitutionally guaranteed right to speedy disposition," read the resolution.

GMA News Online is trying to get Bautista's comment and will publish it as soon as it is available.

"The matters raised by the accused are extrinsic issues, which cannot be considered at all in testing the sufficiency of the allegations in the information," said the court in its resolution.

As regards the alleged delay, the court said, "While the 12 or 24-month period required under AO No. 1, s. 2020 has already lapsed, counting from the filing of the complaint on December 13, 2019 until the resolution of the complaint—including the order treating of the motions of reconsideration of respondents a quo—was approved by the Ombudsman on February 3, 2023, it is only for the court to determine the existence of inordinate delay based on the entire context of the case and not merely based on the length of time involved."

"One significant factor which had a considerable impact and prolonged the timeline of events is the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when the first of several quarantines was imposed on March 12, 2020. Judicial notice can be given at this instance, being a worldwide phenomenon," the court said.

To stress, the concept of speedy disposition is relative. Absent any vexatious, capricious or oppressive delays, and without any unjustified postponements of proceedings during preliminary investigation, it is unwarranted to conclude that the accused’s constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases was infringed," it added. —NB, GMA Integrated News