SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS INDICTMENT OF 2 EX-PETRON EXECS ON SCAM
MANILA, DECEMBER 3, 2010 (STAR) By Edu Punay - The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed a ruling of the Sandiganbayan approving the indictment of two former top executives of Petron Corp. for their alleged involvement in the multi-million tax credit certificate (TCC) scam.
In a decision, the first division of the High Court junked the petition of former Petron president Monico Jacob and vice president and general manager Celso Legarda seeking to nullify a decision of the fourth division of the anti-graft court that reversed its open court ruling in Aug. 2001 that cleared them of 18 counts of graft charges.
The High Court dismissed the argument of petitioners that the Sandiganbayan violated their constitutional right against double jeopardy and right to speedy trial.
“In the instant Petition, legal jeopardy has not yet attached since there is so far no valid dismissal or termination of the criminal cases against petitioners,” stated the ruling penned by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, a former presiding justice of the anti-graft court.
Although the Court acknowledged the delay in the reinvestigation, it held that “the State should not be prejudiced and deprived of its right to prosecute the criminal cases simply because of the ineptitude or nonchalance of the Office of the Ombudsman.”
Jacob and Legarda, according to the SC, cannot invoke their right against double jeopardy because the assailed rulings of the Sandiganbayan division involved the same case.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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