Police exec acquitted in solicitation case
The Sandiganbayan has acquitted a former Philippine National Police executive in Caraga accused of soliciting P3,000 from a policeman whose administrative case he was hearing in January 2011.
In a 16-page decision dated Aug. 18, the court’s First Division cited the “dubious credibility” of the lone witness who hurled the allegations against Senior Supt. Rodolfo Dasmariñas, then the summary hearing officer of the Administrative Disciplinary Authority of Police Regional Office 13.
Senior Insp. Benny Esparagoza complained that in January, Dasmariñas asked for his help in looking for a house in Butuan City. The former claimed he found a house belonging to Nelson Bughao, then the vice president of a local branch of state-run Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp.
The next month, Dasmariñas allegedly dropped hints about financial problems when Esparagoza gave him a ride. When the latter gave him P3,000, the hearing officer allegedly told him not to tell his wife about it.
At the time, Dasmariñas was in charge of the qualified theft and grave misconduct complaint filed against Esparagoza, the commander of Butuan City Police Station 5, for taking the M16 armalite rifle issued to a subordinate.
The court, however, found that Esparagoza’s loss in the administrative case could have been a motive that cast doubt on his credibility as witness against Dasmariñas.
For one, it said the testimony of the complainant himself showed he had been “over solicitous” in an attempt to win the case. The prosecution also failed to present Bughao to verify Esparagoza’s claim of Dasmariñas’ receipt of favors.
“There exists a compelling reason for the complainant [Esparagoza] to wish to even the score with the accused [Dasmariñas], so to speak. This has become apparent through certain unfounded, nay misleading, imputations of the complainant toward the accused,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Edgardo M. Caldona.
Associate Justices Efren N. Dela Cruz and Geraldine Faith A. Econg concurred in the decision. JE
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