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Anti-graft court rejects ex-MWSS deputy administrator appeal in double compensation case

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by Allan Yves Briones

The Sandiganbayan 6th Division denied former Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Regulatory Office deputy administrator Virgilio Ocaya’s appeal regarding his earlier motion for leave to file a demurrer to evidence.

“After a careful reevaluation of the evidence presented by the prosecution, taking into account the arguments raised by the parties, the Court still finds that the evidence of the prosecution sufficiently established a prima facie case for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019,” the court stated in a resolution.

Ocaya was charged with a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly holding two government positions, in effect receiving double compensation.

In Ocaya’s motion for reconsideration filed August 9, he argued that the plaintiff failed to prove his guilt in several instances including allegedly failing to prove that the Office of the Deputy Administrator of the MWSS Regulatory Office is, in fact, a public office.

In addition, the former deputy administrator claimed that the prosecution failed to present evidence that he received double compensation, except for testimonies to be considered “hearsay”, or that he even obtained additional employment.

However, in denying the motion for a lack of merit, the court ruled that Ocaya’s contentions is a “matter of defense” to be answered in trial.

“The validity and merits of a party’s defense or accusation, as well as the admissibility of testimonies and evidence, are better ventilated during trial proper,” the court said.

A demurrer to evidence is tantamount to a dismissal of the case.

The resolution was written by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez, concurred by Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Kevin Narce Vivero. #

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