Sandiganbayan acquits 2 former Iloilo town officials of graft
The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division has acquitted two former officials of Sara town in Iloilo province of graft charges in connection with the reported overpriced construction of two farm-to-market roads in 2006.
In its decision, the anti-graft court said the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that former town treasurer Edna Pacrim and treasurer Roel Salcedo committed graft together with former Sara Mayor Neptali Salcedo.
The court earlier granted the motion for a demurrer of Salcedo, effectively dismissing the case against him.
In a 19-page decision penned by Associate Justice Jacinto Bayani, the anti-graft court said a Commission of Audit (COA) report alleging that the two farm-to-market roads were overpriced “lacked factual certainty” to convict Pacrim and Salcedo of graft.
“[T]here exists no basis for adopting the audit team’s computation for overpricing or overspending on the said projects and for finding that damage was in fact incurred by the government,” the decision said.
The case stemmed from the alleged overpriced construction of a farm-to-market road from Barangay Domingo to Barangay Muyco, which was priced at P200,000.
But the Ombudsman said it was valued at only P103,488 based on COA estimates.
The second farm-to-market road from Sitio Kapinayan, at Barangay Domingo to Sitio Sincua at Barangay Lemery cost P100,000 but was only valued at P51,744 by the COA, the prosecution said. —PATRICIA DENISE M. CHIU
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