The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the fertilizer fund scam charges against former Surigao del Norte Gov. Robert Lyndon Barbers due to the Ombudsman’s inordinate delay in investigating the case.
In a resolution promulgated Nov. 9, the antigraft court Second Division said the Office of the Ombudsman committed unreasonable delays in investigating Barbers’ graft and malversation cases.
The court said it must dismiss the cases because it took the prosecution five years and nine months to bring the case to the court in connection with the 2004 fertilizer fund scam.
The Ombudsman had violated the rights of Barbers to speedy disposition of cases, the Sandiganbayan said.
Court records showed Barbers and seven other individuals were accused of causing undue injury to the government when the province skipped public bidding in procuring 3,332 kilograms of Elements foliar fertilizer.
Instead, the province resorted to direct contracting in two instances in May and December 2004. Prosecutors alleged the purchases were overpriced ninefold and tailored fit to favor an exclusive distributor. By CLC