The Sandiganbayan Third Division denied anew the plea bargain agreement entered between former Puerto Princesa mayor Edward Hagedorn and the prosecution.
The anti-graft court, in a seven-page resolution promulgated on February 24 but was released Thursday, upheld its earlier ruling that the graft and perjury charges filed against Hagedorn would best be threshed out in a full-blown trial and denied his motion for reconsideration.
“Approving such an agreement would be the height of disservice to the public and utterly opposite to the court’s mandate to uphold the highest norms of official conduct towards the attainment of a graft-free country,” said presiding justice and division chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.
The plea bargain agreement, which was first entered into in 2019, would allow a fine with a maximum amount of P5,000 for each count of the violation.
Hagedorn, who was charged with nine counts of graft and perjury for allegedly making false statements in his statement of assets, liabilities and networth (SALN), contended that he never misdeclared his assets and pointed out that there are no clear guidelines prescribed for government officials on filling the SALN.
The court subsequently denied his contention and insisted that the elements of the crime may be best passed upon in a trial.
Hagedorn now faces a total of 27 administrative and criminal charges for his mayoral stint from 2004 to 2012.