Ombudsman filed broadband case direct with Sandiganbayan?
BY PETER TABINGO
GRAFT charges were filed late yesterday at the Sandiganbayan against former President Gloria Arroyo, former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos, and former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.
Three independent informants at the court said the informations were filed around 4:30 p.m. just as the graft court’s docket section was closing for the day.
A female court officer said several folders containing copies of an Ombudsman resolution recommending the indictment, as well as the charge sheet, were brought by a man and a woman from the office of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
A male senior court staff member said the cases were based on complaints filed by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño and former Gabriela party-list Rep. Liza Maza.
However, there appear to be questions of regularity of procedure in the filing of the cases.
Severo A. Sotto, supervising administrative officer of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), said no case against Arroyo or her supposed co-accused went through their records division.
Sotto is in charge of filing all informations from the Ombudsman to the Sandiganbayan.
But he also said the Ombudsman may decide to file an important case directly with the graft court without going through the OSP records office.
Edgardo C. Diansuy, director of the Ombudsman Media Affairs Bureau, said he has no information about the filing of the case.
“Hindi pwede yan. Kailangan talaga dumaan sa OSP. If walang dumaan doon, kuryente yan. Hindi yan totoo. We won’t do that,” Diansuy said.
Morales’ designated spokesman, Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan, could not be reached for comment.
Sought for reaction, Casiño expressed elation that the case has finally reached the court as he pointed out that he and the other complainants, including Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chair Carol Araullo, have been urging the Ombudsman for speedy action on the pending criminal complaints against Arroyo.
“Our complaint was about the NBN (national broadband network) deal and the involvement of GMA (Arroyo), former chairman Abalos and Secretary Mendoza in it. This is very welcome news,” Casiño said.