Sandiganbayan rejects Valencia’s plea to block prosecution evidence in ‘pork barrel’ case

Former Oriental Mindoro Representative Rodolfo Valencia’s plea for reconsideration on his graft and malversation cases has been dismissed by the Sandiganbayan.

The court rejected Valencia’s motion to block prosecution evidence on his cases concerning the fraudulent transfer of millions from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). The Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division found Valencia’s motion for reconsideration as a “rehash of arguments” he presented during the preliminary investigation.

The court’s Seventh Division found Valencia’s arguments as a mere repetition of his earlier claims during the preliminary investigation.

“A rehash of arguments, therefore, fails to persuade this court to reconsider, much less reverse, its earlier resolution,” the Sandigan ruling stated.

Valencia, who also served as governor of Oriental Mindoro, is facing three counts each of graft and malversation of public funds for his alleged participation in transferring P7 million from his PDAF to a bogus private foundation associated with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. The Technology and Livelihood Resource Center and the Department of Budget and Management officials allegedly conspired with him in committing the crime.

Napoles is also co-accused in the case.

Valencia challenged the court’s March 8 resolution that denied his motion to file a demurrer to evidence. He argued that the prosecution had not established his involvement in the crimes. He also cited the account of prosecution witnesses who claimed to have seen him dealing with Napoles and Benhur Luy on any PDAF-related matter.

However, the Sandiganbayan ruled in favor of the prosecution, stating that Valencia’s arguments in his recent motion were the same as those in his motion for leave, which the court already found to be unmeritorious. The court noted that Valencia’s arguments would prematurely weigh the probative worth of the evidence, without considering the defense angle of the accused.

Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta, the division chairperson, wrote the three-page resolution with the concurrences of Associate Justices Zaldy Trespeses and Georgina Hidalgo.

The PDAF or “pork barrel” scam was a high-profile corruption scandal that rocked the Philippines in 2013. It involved the alleged misuse of public funds by several lawmakers who allegedly funneled their PDAF funds to fake non-governmental organizations set up by Napoles.

Valenceia served for close to 25 years as governor and congressman of Oriental Mindoro.

READ the full resolution of the Sandiganbayan

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