Ex-PSC chair Harry Angping acquitted from graft charges
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has acquitted former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chair Harry Angping of graft charges stemming from allegedly hiring janitors without public bidding.
In the 46-page decision dated December 4, the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division said that Angping and co-accused Philcare Manpower Services President Edmundo Montanes were acquitted because the prosecution failed to prove their guilt.
According to the complaint filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2013, Angping and Montanes conspired with each other, and therefore “unlawfully and criminally gave unwarranted benefits” to Philcare Manpower Service when they hired 71 janitors and nine gardeners in March 2009 without going through the requirements.
It happened barely a month since Angping took over PSC’s chairmanship.
However, the anti-graft court believes otherwise, citing the fact that Angping consulted with PSC’s Legal Affairs Office.
“Assuming that accused Angping committed a mistake in not ensuring that the Legal Affairs Office’s advice to him is accurate, it is settled that mistakes committed by a public officer are not actionable absent any clear showing that they were motivated by malice or bad faith,” the decision penned by Associate Justice Kevin Narce Vivero said.
“Even assuming that the representations of PSC’s Legal Affairs Office was erroneous, accused Angping’s reliance upon them was justifiable under the circumstances,” he added.
The decision also took into consideration the urgency of granting additional janitorial personnel during that time as the Laos Sea Games was nearing.
“[…] Accused Angping found urgency in granting the requests of various PSC facilities for additional janitorial personnel because of the fast approaching Laos Sea Games,” he said.
“Even prior to his chairmanship stint, accused Angping was already mindful of the miserable predicament of our athletes […] In executing the subject addendum, accused Angping’s primary consideration was the welfare of the Filipino athletes,” the decision added.
With the verdict, the hold departure orders against Angping and Montanes have been lifted and set aside. /je
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