THE Sandiganbayan third division has denied the respective motions of former Vice President Jejomar Binay and his son Junjun to dismiss the graft cases lodged against them over the P2-billion parking building in Makati City.
The Binays, including several other accused, in their respective motions asked the Court for the dismissal of the criminal cases filed against them on the ground that they have pending appeals before the COA.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, the Court said although the accused have pending appeals before the COA assailing the validity of the issuance of the notices of disallowance relative to the procurement, this does not constitute a ground for the dismissal of the criminal cases against them and even the suspension of the proceedings.
“The doctrine of primary jurisdiction finds no application to these criminal cases. The pendency of the accused-movants’ appeal before the COA does not divest the Court of its jurisdition to hear and try these criminal cases,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The Sandiganbayan also said the prosecution did not commit forum shopping when it filed the information against the accused.
In his motion, Junjun said the prosecution committed forum shopping. He also said that the act of submitting separate joint stipulations of facts for each of the individual accused in the criminal cases is a blatant violation of the rights of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the charges against them.
He also asserted that the prosecution violated his right to speedy trial after it failed to file and serve its pre-trial brief before the scheduled pre-trial on 8 Junuary 2019.
His arguments were disputed by the Court.
“The Court finds the said argument devoid of merit,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The Binays were charged with graft and malversation for the alleged overpriced Makati parking building. (JNC/SunStar Philippines)