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Ex-Agri officials Yap, Lorenzo to be arraigned over graft raps

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Bohol 3rd District Representative Arthur Yap and former Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr. are set to be arraigned before the Sandiganbayan 6th Division this Friday (October 5) over graft charges over their alleged involvement in the anomalous purchase of fertilizers in 2003.

The anti-graft court set the arraignment after it denied their respective motion to dismiss the five counts of graft filed against them by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Yap and Lorenzo claimed that their constitutional right for the speedy disposition of cases was violated when the Ombudsman committed inordinate delay in the conduct of the preliminary investigation of the case.

However, the court disagreed with the respondents and found that the time conducted over preliminary investigation to be reasonable.

“The protection under the right to a speedy disposition of cases should not operate as to deprive the government of its inherent prerogative in prosecuting criminal cases or generally in seeing to it that all who approach the bar of justice be afforded a fair opportunity to present their side,” it ruled.

Under the charges, Yap and Lorenzo are accused of having favored Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation in getting the deal for the supply of 92,158 bags of fertilizer in 2003.

During this time Yap was the National Food Authority Administrator.