Hagedorn insists on dismissal of SALN misdeclaration raps

MANILA, Philippines Former Puerto Princesa City mayor Edward Hagedorn has maintained that the Office of the Ombudsman violated his constitutional right to speedy trial, thus the 27 cases it filed against him must be dismissed.

In his seven-page motion for reconsideration filed before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, Hagedorn urged the anti-graft court to reconsider its July 19 ruling denying his motion to quash the charges.

Hagedorn is facing before the Fifth Division nine counts each of graft, perjury and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman on March 17, the cases stemmed from Hagedorn’s alleged false declarations in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth for 2004 to 2012.

The ombudsman said Hagedorn failed to declare his ownership of 59 residential, commercial and agricultural properties and 45 vehicles as well as his positions in six corporations including the Puerto Princesa Broadcasting Corp., in which he is said to be a board member.

In his appeal, Hagedorn maintained the ombudsman’s prosecution panel failed to provide any justification why it took them almost four years to finish its investigation on the complaint against him.

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Hagedorn pointed out that the ombudsman began its preliminary investigation on the complaint in October 2013 and yet the cases were filed only in March of this year.

“Here, unless this Honorable Court dismisses the case on the ground of the prosecution’s inordinate delay in prosecuting the same, accused’s constitutional guaranteed right to speedy disposition of cases will be rendered nugatory,” Hagedorn’s motion for reconsideration read.

Hagedorn further pointed out that he “cannot be charged simultaneously” for the crimes of perjury under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code, violation of Section 7 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and violation of Section 8 of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees

Hagedorn said that under Section 11 of RA 6713 “whenever a person is charged with more than one violation or offense, he shall only be prosecuted for that which carries heavier penalty”.

Hagedorn pointed out that perjury only carries a penalty of four months and one day up to two years and four months of imprisonment while violation of Section 7 of RA 3019 is punishable by a fine not exceeding P1,000 and an imprisonment not exceeding one year.

Violation of Section 8 of RA 6713, meanwhile, carries a penalty of a maximum of five years of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding P5,000.

“In other words, the charges of perjury and violation of Section 7 of RA 3019 against him must be dismissed,” Hagedorn’s motion read.

He, however, reiterated that all the 27 cases must be dismissed on the ground of the ombudsman’s supposed “inordinate delay” in the investigation.