Criminal Law

Sandiganbayan junks Purisma Bid to quash Evidence in Perjury Raps

Date: 15 April 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Philippine News Agency

MANILA, Apr 15 (PNA) - The Sandiganbayan has denied the motion of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima to quash evidence presented against him in eight perjury cases.

The perjury cases against Purisima stemmed from his alleged failure to disclose various possessions in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) filed from 2006 to 2009, and from 2011 to 2014.

In a three-page resolution handed down last April 8, the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division stated that Purisima’s motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence and to admit attached demurrer to evidence was denied for lack of merit.

In the resolution penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna, the court noted that in Purisima’s motion, the former PNP chief "merely alleged that the prosecution’s documentary and testimonial pieces of evidence are insufficient to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt".

It cited Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides: “The motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence shall specifically state its grounds and shall be filed within a non-extendible period of five (5) days after the prosecution rests its case. The prosecution may oppose the motion within a non-extendible period of five (5) days from its receipt.”

“If leave of court is granted, the accused shall file the demurrer to evidence within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice. The prosecution may oppose the demurrer to evidence within a similar period from its receipt," it stated.

The Sandiganbayan said Purisima fell short of his compliance with the specificity requirement.

It further stressed that the court cannot be compelled to go beyond Purisima’s motion and examine in detail the discussion and the arguments of the accused in the demurrer to evidence since leave of court has not yet been granted for the resolution of the case.

“Technicality aside, the Motion must still be denied, as the testimonial and documentary evidence presented by the prosecution, unless successfully rebutted by the accused, appear to be prima facie sufficient to support a finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt,” the resolution added.

As for the attached demurrer to evidence, the Sandiganbayan said the document “is merely noted” without further action from the Court, unless Purisima, within five days from receipt of the resolution, manifests in writing that he shall pursue his Demurrer to Evidence even without leave of Court.

Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules on Criminal procedure states that: “When the demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of court, the accused waives the right to present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution.”

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