by Allan Yves Briones
Shariff Saydona Mustapha Mayor Sajid Islam Ampatuan has filed a motion with the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division asking to reschedule his arraignment so he can attend his town’s anniversary celebration.
In his motion, he asked the anti-graft court to have his arraignment take place on August 30, instead of the scheduled August 23, explaining that local and national personalities have already confirmed their attendance.
“Thus, as head of the municipality; the accused is constrained to ask this Honorable Court that his arraignment…be reset to August 30 so that he may personally attend to the municipality’s invited guests of honor who have graciously accepted his invitation to attend and participate in the activities,” Ampatuan said through his motion.
Ampatuan explained that his lawyer wrongfully agreed to the August 23 arraignment prior to consulting his client.
“That undersigned counsel…agreed to the resetting of the arraignment to August 23 without prior consultation with the accused who was then still caught in traffic,” the motion read.
Ampatuan was charged with violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Articles 171 and 217 of the Revised Penal Code for allegedly using P98.2 million in government funds to make a fictitious purchase of palay and corn seeds from private company Tamoni enterprises in 2009.
The former governor is also facing four more counts for irregularities in his purchase of food supplies worth another P79.75 million in the same year. #