Sandi­gan ac­quits Echiverri of graft

The Philippine Star - - METRO - By MICHAEL PUNONG­BAYAN

The Sandi­gan­bayan has or­dered the dis­missal of one of 44 graft and fal­si­fi­ca­tion of pub­lic doc­u­ments cases filed by the Of­fice of the Om­buds­man against for­mer Caloocan City mayor En­rico Echiverri.

Also ac­quit­ted were for­mer city ac­coun­tant Edna Cen­teno and for­mer city bud­get of­fi­cer Je­susa Gar­cia.

The Sandi­gan­bayan said the om­buds­man pros­e­cu­tors, half­way through the trial, failed to prove the guilt of the re­spon­dents be­yond rea­son­able doubt.

“Given the state of pros­e­cu­tion’s ev­i­dence in these cases, the court is con­strained to grant the in­stant mo­tion to dis­miss on de­mur­rer to ev­i­dence,” the anti-graft court’s First Divi­sion rul­ing re­leased yes­ter­day read.

Echiverri, Cen­teno and Gar­cia were specif­i­cally ac­quit­ted of a charge ac­cus­ing them of giv­ing un­war­ranted ben­e­fits to a con­trac­tor in an P8-mil­lion road and drainage sys­tem im­prove­ment project in 2011.

The re­spon­dents moved for the dis­missal of the case half­way through the trial through a de­mur­rer to ev­i­dence, which ar­gues that the pros­e­cu­tion failed to prove its ac­cu­sa­tions that there is not even a need for the pre­sen­ta­tion of de­fense ev­i­dence and wit­nesses.

Echiverri and other for­mer city of­fi­cials are, how­ever, fac­ing 43 other graft and fal­si­fi­ca­tion of pub­lic funds cases aris­ing from var­i­ous gov­ern­ment projects that were al­legedly im­ple­mented with­out an ap­pro­pri­a­tion or­di­nance from the city coun­cil.

The Com­mis­sion on Au­dit ini­tially tagged the gov­ern­ment transactions as ir­reg­u­lar but later on is­sued a re­ver­sal of its find­ings.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.