Capiz governor Vicente Bermejo

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan has junked the appeal of former Capiz governor Vicente Bermejo to dismiss his graft case over the alleged anomalous purchase of government vehicles in 2007.

In a resolution from the anti-graft court’s Sixth Division, Bermejo’s motion to dismiss was denied for lack of merit since the Office of the Ombudsman did not commit an inordinate delay in investigating the case.

“The time spent for the investigation of the case was insufficient to conclude that there was inordinate delay,” it said. “The period of the graft case was justified and can hardly be considered as excessive, unwarranted and oppressive.”

It added: “The period during which the records of this case were examined and reviewed for case build-up, the time poured into the research of pertinent laws and jurisprudence, the thoroughness of analysis must be considered as reasonable processes of justice.”

Bermejo has been slapped with one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for approving the purchase of four vehicles – three Mitsubishi Parejo wagons and one Isuzu Manlift truck – with a total amount of P1.95 million through public auction.

The check payment for the vehicles was made payable to Bermejo “as reimbursement,” documents from the Commission on Audit showed.

The Sandiganbayan said the name of Bermejo on the checks “already proves that the purchase was against government procurement rules.”

Bermejo, however, insisted that his rights to due process and speedy disposition of cases were violated when it took the Ombudsman eight years from the time then-Roxas City mayor Alan Celino filed a letter-complaint in September 2010 until the formal charges were filed at the Sandiganbayan in April 2018./PN

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