THE Sandiganbayan (SB) has granted the motion of former Dumanjug mayor Nelson Garcia to reopen the trial for his case over usurpation of authority.
“After a judicious perusal of the issue and the respective arguments of the parties, the court resolves to grant the present motion,” reads a portion of the resolution signed by Associate Justice Maria Theresa Arcega.
Garcia and six other former Dumajug town officials were charged with violating Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code (usurpation of authority) in 2013.
His co-accused were former councilors Ricardo Boquecosa, Ricardo Condes, Eliezer Amadora, Miriam Llaño, Antonio Garcia and Emmylou Cabonilas, the former town council secretary.
The case stemmed from the complaint for grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority and dishonesty filed by Dumanjug Mayor Efren Gica and Councilor Joshua Dacumos.
The respondents allegedly usurped the power of Gica, then the town’s vice mayor, after Garcia appointed Cabonilas as the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) secretary on June 25, 2013. Cabonilas was then the town’s information officer prior to her appointment.
Gica appointed Nerio Aquino to be the SB secretary, but Cabonilas did not step down from her post. Gica said Garcia’s alleged abuses were committed in conspiracy with the respondents.
Garcia, in his Sept. 23 motion, said his counsel observed that the documentary exhibits marked during the pre-trial conference were mere photocopies and that “said counsel failed to present the records officer of the Municipality of Dumanjug, Cebu and the Civil Service Commission during the course of the trial.”
The Sandiganbayan said Garcia’s present motion to reopen the proceedings was proper and timely.
It also allowed Garcia to authenticate his documentary exhibits.
It said that the most important consideration in its decision is to avoid miscarriage of justice.
Gica refused to comment on the development.
SunStar Cebu tried to reach Garcia, but to no avail. WBS