SC tells Sandiganbayan: Proceed with ‘Morong 43’s’ trial
The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Sandiganbayan to proceed with the trial of former and current police and military officials behind the arrest of the so-called “Morong 43.”
The SC has issued a resolution which junked the petition of the defendants who sought the quash the charges they are facing before the Sandiganbayan.
“In fine, the Sandiganbayan did not commit any grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in denying the motion to quash information,” the SC ruled.
The defendants who filed the petition are retired Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia, retired Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, Brig. Gen. Joselito Reyes, Col. Cristobal Zaragoza, Police Supt. Marion Balonglong, Police Supt. Allan Nobleza, and Police Chief Insp. Jovily Cabading.
They have been charged with eight counts of violating of Republic Act No. 7438 (the Act Defining Certain Rights of Person Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation as well as the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating Officers).
The charges stemmed from the 2010 arrest of 43 persons in Morong, Rizal who were allegedly communist rebels.
The 43 persons, who insisted being health workers, alleged they were illegally detained for 10 months and tortured.
In their petition, the defendants argued that the charges should have been quashed by the Sandiganbayan since the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) violated their right for the speedy disposition of cases.
“Undoubtedly, the aforementioned timeline and justifications would show that there was no inordinate delay in the investigation of the case. It is also clear from the records that the OMB followed the established procedure in prosecuting the petitioners’ case. This proves there were no vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays in the investigation of the case,” the SC stated.