Sandiganbayan acquits 2 NGO execs in PDAF mess
MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has acquitted two private individuals accused of graft for allegedly creating bogus non- government organizations (NGOs) which received allocations from former La Union Rep. Thomas Dumpit Jr.’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The Sandiganbayan First Division’s decision dated October 18 stated that the demurrer to evidence filed by Godofredo Roque and Morrys Ang were granted as the prosecution failed to present convincing evidence that would prove they conspired with Dumpit and other officials accused in the case.
The anti-graft court claimed that Roque and Ang merely signed official documents as incorporators of the NGOs involved — Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation (KKAMFI) and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI).
Both Roque and Ang were co-accused in the graft and malversation cases filed against Dumpit, after he allegedly channeled P6.5 million of his PDAF into ghost projects under the two NGOs.
The projects involved were for the procurement of livelihood technology kits for farmers in Dumpit’s district.
The Sandiganbayan said that since it cannot be proven that the two conspired with the public official, then the requirements for committing graft, according to Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, cannot be satisfied.
“In the instant cases, the alleged participations of the two accused to commit the crimes were not adequately proven. The mere fact that accused Roque and Ang were incorporators and/or officers of KKAMFI and AFPI is certainly insufficient to justify the conclusion that they conspired with their co-accused,” the court said.
“However, aside from the articles of incorporation, general information sheets and by-laws, no other documentary evidence nor testimony was put forth by the prosecution to show their respective participations in the unlawful disbursements of accused Dumpit Jr.’s PDAF,” it added.
The court also banked on testimonies by prosecution witnesses lawyer Roscoe Agcaoili, who was with the Office of the Ombudsman that probed the case; and state auditor Gloria de Guzman who admitted that the two were not found liable by the Commission on Audit (COA).
“In fact, prosecution witness Atty. Roscoe Adeppa Agcaoili testified that accused Roque did not perform any act aside from being an incorporator of KKAMFI; and that he was charged in these cases merely because he was such an incorporator,” the court’s decision penned by Associate Justice Edgardo Caldona explained.
With the decision, the bail bonds posted by Roque and Ang in relation to this case were order cancelled and released, while the hold departure order against them were recalled. /gsg
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