by Allan Yves Briones
The Sandiganbayan 5th Division denied the motion to dismiss filed by Tuao Mayor Francisco Mamba, Jr., in which he argued that the prosecution’s filing of two graft cases constituted “double jeopardy.”
“Contrary to accused’s claim, the simultaneous filing of two (2) separate Informations allegedly arising from the same transaction does not constitute double jeopardy,” the anti-graft court stated in a resolution promulgated October 3.
Double jeopardy is a defense raised when an accused person is tried anew for the same offense after an acquittal or conviction.
In Mamba’s motion to dismiss filed September 13, he argued that the two cases filed by the prosecution constituted “a single continuing offense.”
However, the court found otherwise, stating that that particular defense was raised too early.
“Here, there is no double jeopardy to speak of as the first jeopardy has not attached yet, or has it been validly terminated,” the court said. “Apparently, the accused have not even been arraigned, convicted or acquitted of either the offenses.”
Mamba was charged with violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over his involvement in an alleged fertilizer fund scam.
The mayor allegedly gave “unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference” to private company Feshan Phils., Inc. for the procurement of 3,333 bottles of liquid organic fertilizer at P1,500 a pop, totaling P402 million.
Last August 5, the Tiao mayor also filed a motion to quash on the ground of “inordinate delay”, which was also denied by the court.
The resolution was written by Associate Justice Maryann Corpus-Mañalac, concurred by Associate Justice Rafael Lagos and Division Chairperson Ma. Theresa Mendoza-Arcega.