NCota­bato gover­nor ac­quit­ted of graft

Manila Times - - Regions - GLEE JALEA

THE first divi­sion of the anti-graft court Sandi­gan­bayan has ac­quit­ted Gov. Em­my­lou Tal­iño-Mendoza of North Cota­bato of graft charges over al­leged anoma­lous pur­chase or­ders of fuel in 2010.

“Where­fore, in view of the fore­go­ing, this court finds ac­cused Em­my­lou Tal­iño-Mendoza not guilty of vi­o­lat­ing Section 3(e) of Repub­lic Act (RA) No. 3019…as the act of omis­sion from which the civil li­a­bil­ity might arise did not ex­ist, no civil li­a­bil­ity may be as­sessed against [the] ac­cused,” a por­tion of the de­ci­sion pro­mul­gated on Septem­ber 14 stated.

Section 3(e) of RA 3019 or the Anti­Graft and Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act pro­hibits a pub­lic of­fi­cial from giv­ing un­war­ranted ben­e­fit, ad­van­tage or pref­er­ence to any party or caus­ing any party, in­clud­ing the gov­ern­ment, un­due in­jury.

In 2016, the re­elec­tion­ist gover­nor pleaded “not guilty” to charges the Of­fice of the Om­buds­man filed al­leg­ing that fuel worth P2.4 mil­lion was bought from a gaso­line sta­tion owned by her mother.

Mendoza al­legedly awarded the con­tract to Tal­iño Shell Sta­tion with­out call­ing for a pub­lic bid­ding when she used the amount to pay for 49,526.72 liters of fuel for a gov­ern­ment road project.

She pre­vi­ously served a 90- day sus­pen­sion the Sandi­gan­bayan or­dered de­spite main­tain­ing that the graft charges had no ba­sis.

How­ever, in a 35-page res­o­lu­tion, the pros­e­cu­tion stated that it was “un­able to prove be­yond rea­son­able doubt that [Mendoza] took ad­van­tage of her of­fi­cial po­si­tion” when she signed the pur­chase or­ders and in­stead al­lowed pro­cure­ment of the fuel upon the rec­om­men­da­tion of the Bids and Awards Com­mit­tee (BAC).

“It could then be con­cluded that ac­cused did not give un­war­ranted ben­e­fit to the Tal­iño Shell Sta­tion at the BAC, the ac­cused fol­lowed the same pro­ce­dure or process for projects re­quir­ing fuel in the im­ple­men­ta­tion,” the or­der stated.

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