Sandiganbayan has rejected the petition of three out of 14 former Palawan provincial government officials who are facing charges for the misuse of a ₱1.53 billion budget allocation acquired from royalties generated by the Malampaya natural gas back in 2008 and 2009.

The Sandiganbayan’s 2nd Division dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by former provincial engineers Romeo Llacuna and Bernard Zambales and former senior technical audit specialist Ronel del Socorro.

The anti-graft court said that in seeking the dismissal of their case, the three failed to present “compelling grounds” to reverse their earlier resolution.

The 2nd Division determined that the resolution was reached after a meticulous examination of the facts and arguments presented to it.

The resolution, released on April 2, also stated that the denial of the motion was based on considerations that the petitioners were unable to present “new or additional arguments or compelling reasons raised by the accused-movants to warrant reconsideration.”

The three-member 2nd Division unanimously approved the decision, which was authored by Associate Justice Arthur Malabaguio, with concurrence from Associate Justices Edgardo Caldona and division chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr.

The case involves 75 counts of graft charges, 77 counts of falsification charges, and seven counts of violations of a presidential decree penalizing contractors for violating contracts.

Other provincial government officials and employees included in the charges from the provincial engineer’s office include quality control division chief Alfredo Padua, assistant provincial engineers Manuel Cabiguen and Federico Rubio Jr., and engineers Renato Abrina, Pepe Patacsil, Bernard Zambales, Rolly Matudio, Bayani Buenaventura, Cecilia Colegio, Pedro Gatinga Jr., Rosario Abacial, Romeo Llacuna, and Tommy Panes.