Court moves arraignment of bribe case vs Valencia poll officer

City Prosecutor Fernando Melendez confirmed to MindaNews the postponement of the hearing when MTC Judge Marissa Estabaya would have asked Rasonable how she pleads on the charge against her.
 
According to Melendez, the arraignment has been reset to February 27.
 
Rasonable was arrested early evening on October 29 in a police entrapment operation after a candidate for barangay captain reported she was asking for bribe in exchange for protecting his ballots.
 
Rasonable was reported caught receiving P2,000 in marked money from a courier in the entrapment, according to the resolution filed by Melendez on October 30, 2007. The resolution also mentioned that the suspect already received P5,000 in marked money earlier that day from the same courier.
 
The accused posted P10,000 bail a day after she was arrested.
 
Gaudencio Ando, Jr. who ran and lost in the race for barangay captain of Lumbo, Valencia City, accused Rasonable of allegedly talking him into paying P10,000 in exchange for the protection of his ballots during the 2007 barangay elections.
 
According to the resolution, Rasonable allegedly sent text messages to Ando on October 21, 23, and 28 reminding the latter of the supposed deal.  
 
The resolution was prepared after an inquest on October 30 attended by Ando, Rasonable and lawyers Tala Tambaoan and Danette Tinagan, counsels of the complainant and the respondent, respectively  
 
The prosecution filed the case at Estabaya's courtroom after finding "well-sufficient" evidence to indict Rasonable and that a "probable cause against her exist for the crime of direct bribery."
 
He said the status of the case is now under regular preliminary investigation with a possibility of being moved from the MTC to the Regional Trial Court.

Melendez said he asked the court for a month's time to study the complaint after Tambaoan, private prosecutor for Ando, pointed out a word in the information that could be defective.
 
Tambaoan confirmed the problem in the information and said sending the case to the RTC could mean bigger liabilities for the respondent.
 
Direct bribery is a crime under the second paragraph of Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. Melendez said it's the first case of direct bribery filed against a government official in the city. (Walter I. Balane /  MindaNews)

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