Ex-DOJ chief Devanadera cleared of graft

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Former Justice Sceretary Agnes Devanadera. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Sandiganbayan dismissed the graft and malversation charges against former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera for allegedly granting illegal allowances for herself and her staff in 2007 during her stint as government corporate counsel.

The antigraft court’s Special Fifth Division, in a 16-page resolution, granted Devanadera’s motion to quash the amended information for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt.

It said that “circumstances which qualify criminal responsibility cannot rest on mere conjectures, no matter how reasonable or probable, but must be based on facts of unquestionable existence.”

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Alex L. Quiroz and was concurred in by Associate Justice Roland B. Jurado, chairman; and Samuel Martires. Associate Justices Maria Cristina Cornejo and Oscar Herrera Jr. dissented.

The charges were filed by the Office of the Ombudsman last year after it found Devanadera, then head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, and her coaccused to have allegedly conspired to give themselves allowances even if they were not entitled to these.

Also charged were assistant government corporate counsel Jose Mari Capili, former accountant Divina Gracia Cruz and former head executive assistant Rolando Faller.

The Sandiganbayan earlier cleared Capili after establishing she did not conspire with the other accused to get hold of the funds.

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