DECEMBER 5, 2019 — The Supreme Court (SC) has reversed a decision made by the anti-corruption Sandiganbayan to junk the 15-year old graft case against a sitting senator.
In an en banc ruling, 15-member high court said the anti-graft court erred when it granted a motion by Lito Lapid to drop the charges filed by the Ombudsman against the senator when he was still Pampanga governor.
“No such delay attended the Ombudsman’s proceedings that would warrant the dismissal of the criminal case against herein respondents,” said SC in its decision made public on Thursday.
Lapid’s graft case stemmed from the fertilizer fund scam in 2004 when he was still Pampanga governor. At that time, he made an allegedly irregular P4.7-million purchase of liquid fertilizer.
In 2016, the anti-graft court granted Lapid’s motion to drop the case because he argued the Ombudsman’s failure to justify the delay in the preliminary probe.
The high court has also ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to re-investigate the fertilizer fund scam.
In the same ruling, the SC has ordered Sandiganbayan to resolve the criminal case against Lapid and three others “with reasonable dispatch.”