The Sandiganbayan has denied the plea of Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. to be allowed to challenge the sufficiency of the Ombudsman’s evidence in connection with his P1.5-million graft and ethical misconduct case.
In a 10-page resolution dated Oct. 17, the court’s Fifth Division said the prosecution’s evidence was strong enough, and Pichay would have to prove his innocence to avoid conviction.
The court said the prosecution “adequately satisfied” the requirement to prove Pichay’s commission of the crime and his participation in the alleged misuse of public funds for a 2010 international chess tournament held in his honor.
At the time, Pichay was also the acting chair of the Local Water Utilities Administration’s (LWUA) board of trustees and the president of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.
“There is more than prima facie evidence of Pichay’s conflict of interest,” the court said, pointing out that LWUA’s sponsorship of the chess event required his approval.
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