Former Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. on Friday refused to enter any plea on 97 counts of graft and malversation of public funds, respectively, in connection with the P900-million Malampaya fund scam, saying he had a pending petition before the Supreme Court.
Andaya’s action prompted the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division to enter a not guilty plea for him.
In his petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court, Andaya accused government prosecutors of grave abuse of discretion in filing the multiple criminal charges against him.
Andaya’s a petition for certiorari came with a prayer for a temporary restraining order to stop the trial because of certain defects in the Ombudsman’s appreciation of the case that led it to file a suit in court.
The Ombudsman earlier opposed Andaya’s plea for the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the graft and malversation charges filed against him in connection with the alleged P900-million Malampaya fund scam.
In an opposition filed on April 10, Ombudsman prosecutors said Andaya’s motion for reconsideration should be denied as the plea was filed beyond the five-day period reglementary period stated under the Guidelines for Continuous Trial.
Andaya earlier filed a motion to dismiss the cases but the anti-graft court denied his plea, prompting Andaya to file a motion for reconsideration in late March.
But even if Andaya filed the motion on time, the Ombudsman said it should still be dismissed “based on the merits.”
In his motion for reconsideration, Andaya said the information containing the 97 counts each of graft and malversation through falsification filed against him are “fatally defective” as they failed to show how he participated in the scheme.
The court, however, has already ruled on the validity of the charges, saying all matters on the alleged role of Andaya in the scheme are best presented during the trial, the Ombudsman said.