Present counter evidences, Sandigan tells Chiong
CEBU CITY, Philippines —Former Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong needs to present his counter-evidences to prove his innocence on the graft charge filed against him, the Sandiganbayan resolved.
In a three-page resolution, the graft court denied Chiong’s Motion for Leave of Court to File Demurrer of Evidence, an action seeking for the court to junk the case on the basis of insufficiency of evidence.
Chiong filed the motion in November 2018 saying that “the prosecution failed to establish its case” and that “there is no sufficient evidence to convict him beyond reasonable doubt.”
The graft court, however, believed that the evidences presented by the prosecution are sufficient to convict him if not countered.
“The Court finds that, if unrebutted, the safe is sufficient to support a verdict of guilt against accused Valdemar M. Chiong…” Associate Justice Sarah Jane Fernandez wrote in the resolution.
Chiong however, welcomed the decision of the court saying it would give him the chance to answer the allegations against him.
In a statement sent to reporters on Friday, Chiong said that what is important is that “the case does not involve money. It is a chief executive exercising a function like a father of a family, looking after his children, the people of Naga. This is not the end of a story.”
Sandiganbayan set the hearings for Chiong’s case on January 16, 23 and 24.
The graft charges filed against Chiong stemmed from his issuance of a business permit to a fuel company in 2014 despite it’s failure to present a Fire Safety and Inspection certificate from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
Fomer Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found Chiong guilty of Grave Misconduct and Grave Neglect of Duty for the same case.
His conviction, which carries a penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, is currently pending in the appellate court.
Chiong is seeking the mayoral post of Naga City in the May 2019 polls. Chiong was a three-term mayor from 2006 until 2016. His daughter, Atty. Kristine Vanessa Chiong, is incumbent city mayor. /rcg
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