September 25, 2017, 1:23 am
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NCDA exec walks on sexual harassment charge

THE Sandiganbayan has thrown out a sexual harassment charge against a ranking official of the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) after a review showed the case was filed one day past the deadline.

In a four-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan Second Division granted the motion for reconsideration filed by Mateo A. Lee Jr. of the court’s June 16, 2017 resolution that denied his motion seeking dismissal of the case for lack of probable cause.

Lee was accused by a female staff of subjecting her to unwanted amorous attention for over a year starting from Valentine’s Day 2013 up to March 20, 2014.

The complainant, an administrative aide at the same office, said Lee demanded sexual favors from her on several occasions by asking when she would go with him to a hotel.

She said Lee also sent her flowers, food, and love notes, refusing to heed her repeated protests asking him to stop.

Lee also reportedly dropped by at her home, at the church she went to, and sought information about her from her family, friends and relatives. She added that the accused even followed her on her way home.

Sexual harassment, a criminal offense covered by RA no 7877, is punishable by imprisonment of one to six months or fines ranging from P10,000 to P20,000 or both at the discretion of the court.

But Lee invoked the prescriptive period on a sexual harassment case under Section 7 of Republic Act No. 7877 which states that, “Any action arising from the violation of the provisions of this Act shall prescribe in three (3) years.”

In ordering the case dismissed, the Sandiganbayan noted that the case only reached the court a day after the period for valid filing had already expired.

“The period of prescription started to run not later than March 20, 2014. However, the Information in this case was filed with the Court only on March 21, 2017, or beyond the three year period of prescription…RA 7877 being a special law, the offense charged against accused Lee had indeed prescribed,” the court said.
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