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Sandigan denies Ombudsman’s bid to drop graft case vs ex-LTFBR exec

THE Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has denied a motion filed by prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman to withdraw a graft case against former Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) executive director Aloysius Jardin.

In a 10-page resolution issued yesterday, the anti-graft court overruled the prosecution’s position that the Sandiganbayan does not have jurisdiction over the case because it does not allege bribery or any damage to the government.

“Without doubt, the information alleges the request and receipt of a bribe in an amount exceeding P1 million. Thus, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the present case,” the court ruled.

Associate Justice Sarah Jane T. Fernandez, Sixth Division chairperson, penned the resolution while Associate Justices Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero concurred.

Based on the information filed in April this year, Jardin allegedly requested and received P4.6 million from a private person on March 27, 2019 in exchange for help in obtaining a certificate of public convenience (CPC) or a route measured capacity (RMC).

Jardin was appointed by former President Rodrigo Duterte to the LTFRB in Match 2018 but was suspended by former Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade after just one year and subsequently dismissed in December 2020 on orders of the Office of the Ombudsman for grave misconduct.

Prosecutors said the money was delivered by one Michelle Sapangila who was representing a third party applying for the permit to operate a public transport vehicle.

There were originally two criminal cases filed against Jardin but the other case was dismissed since it alleges a violation of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which has a lower imposable penalty compared to the graft charge.