(File photo courtesy of Palawan Provincial Information Office)

The provincial government is confident that Governor Jose Alvarez is “innocent of graft” in connection with the controversial Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) bulk water supply deal in 2004.

Provincial legal officer Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta said to Palawan News on Monday they are confident that Governor Alvarez is not guilty of graft and can prove this despite the ruling of the Sandiganbayan to junk his appeal to send back his cause to the Ombudsman’s office for reinvestigation.

“We are very confident that the legal process will uphold his innocence,” Matta said.

A special division of five justices of the Sandiganbayan decided to junk Alvarez’ appeal on a 3-2 vote, citing lack of new evidence in the presentation his legal team made.

The majority resolution regarding the appeal was penned by 2nd Division chairman and associate justice Oscar Herrera Jr. which also cited that since Alvarez filed his appeal to the anti-graft court, there is no use to return his case to the Ombudsman for a new investigation.

“A motion for reconsideration and a motion for reinvestigation are alternative remedies…which may not be availed of successively. Otherwise stated, the availment of one remedy precludes the availment of the other,” presiding justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang said.

The opinion is shared by associate justice Maryann Corpus Mañalac, who said Alvarez was given the opportunity to present his side during the preliminary investigation.

“The denial of a motion for reconsideration filed by a respondent who actively participated during preliminary investigation, as in this case, is certainly not a valid ground in support of a motion for reinvestigation,” she said.

Alvarez’ graft case rooted from alleged anomalies involving the bulk water supply project of the COWD which was approved in 2004.

Allegedly, the COWD favored Alvarez’ Rio Verde Water Consortium without going through the bids and awards process.

Alvarez was charged with COWD board of director chairman Francisco Mendez; members Sarah Borja, Raymundo Java, and Sandy Bass Sr, and former Local Water Utilities Administration head Lorenzo Jamora.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.