Ex-Surigao del Sur mayor’s bid to dismiss graft case nixed

The Sandiganbayan has denied the bid of former Bislig, Surigao del Sur, Mayor Librado Navarro to dismiss the graft case against him which stemmed from the alleged anomalous purchase of a hydraulic excavator in 2012.

The Sandiganbayan’s Second Division, in its six-page resolution denied Navarro’s motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence .

The anti-graft court noted the prosecution’s evidence against Navarro, who is now the vice governor of Surigao del Sur— if not rebutted— can already sustain a guilty verdict.

“After going over the records, the court finds, and so holds, that the evidence presented by the prosecution, testimonial and documentary, as well as the admissions and stipulations of the parties, appear to be prima facie sufficient to sustain a conviction, unless successfully rebutted by defense evidence,” the antigraft court said.

Navarro faces a graft charge in relation to an allegedly anomalous purchase of a hydraulic excavator worth P14.75 million from RDAK Transport Equipment Inc. in 2012.

The project was allegedly awarded to RDAK despite noncompliance with the technical specifications concerning engine power, bucket capacity and operating weight, and the Commission on Audit’s notice of disallowance on the purchase.

Navarro earlier sought the court’s permission to file a demurrer — asking it to evaluate the evidence presented by the prosecution, to determine if there was enough basis to proceed.

A demurrer to evidence would allow an accused to contest the evidence presented by the prosecution. A demurrer granted by the court could lead to the dismissal of the case.

Since the leave of court to file a demurrer was denied, graft trial is expected to continue. By CLC

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