Hagedorn skips Sandiganbayan arraignment on injury, but files motion to dismiss raps over SALN

April 27, 2017 - 1:08 PM
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The Sandiganbayan building in Quezon City. PHIL. STAR PHOTO

MANILA – Former Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn was unable to attend his arraignment at the 5th Division of the Sandiganbayan on Thursday, owing to what his lawyers described as his difficulty in walking owing to an accident the day before.

As a result, the court reset Hagedorn’s arraignment to June 6, 2017 at 8.30 a.m., and directed Hagedorn’s camp to submit a medical certificate.

The court also gave the prosecution 10 days to comment on the motion to quash filed by the lawyers of Hagedorn, seeking to dismiss the case against him – nine counts of graft and perjury in connection with his Statement of Assets and Liability (SALN) from 2004-2012.

In the case information filed by the Ombudsman with the Sandiganbayan, it was alleged that Hagedorn did not list his properties, motor vehicles and business interest – in Palawan Jolly Foods Corp., Puerto Princesa Broadcasting Corp.,Green Forest Waters Corp. and Hagedorn Travel and Tours – in his SALN for the years 2004-2012.

Motion to dismiss

Hagedorn, however, has filed an urgent omnibus motion to the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division and sought the dismissal of the cases with prejudice because he had no undeclared wealth in his submitted SALNs  which all indicated the true value of his assets.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor filed nine counts each of perjury and graft against Hagedorn for his failure to declare 59 residential, agricultural, and commercial properties, as well as 45 vehicles – including motorcycles, luxury vehicles such as Volvo, Toyota Landcruiser, BMW, and other sports utility vehicles.

In their motion, Hagedorn’s lawyers  said the anti-graft court should  note that “the accused never under-declared the value of his assets; has no undeclared wealth and  all disclosures in his SALNs indicate an accurate value of his assets.”

Hagedorn said the allegation that he misdeclared his wealth was “false,” especially because he filed a separate attachment to his SALN which sufficiently complied with the required truthful disclosure of wealth.

Hagedorn said he had divested his shares in the corporations which he allegedly did not disclose in his SALNs, by executing deeds of trust in favor of his grandchildren. He said he should not be prosecuted for not declaring his motorcycles in his SALN because  these were raffled off to his constituents and thus he no longer owned them.

“He has no reason to maintain or hoard a fleet of motorcycles,” Hagedorn said.

He said he only had “good faith” in not declaring all his cars in his SALN, because  these were no longer operable  or roadworthy and were already  “scrap” and thus had no value.

He said the facts in the information did not charge a criminal offense, because there was no allegation the SALNs were under oath and subscribed before competent officers.

He also cited the allegedly unreasonable delay of the Office of the Ombudsman in investigating the case before its filing to the Sandiganbayan, which he claimed violated his constitutional right to a speedy disposition of cases.

“The preliminary investigation of these cases lasted for at least three years and five months, more or less,” Hagedorn said. “The Rules of Court provides that preliminary investigation should be terminated within 60 days only.”