Sandigan drops raps against fiscal Castro
AMID serving a three-month suspension for misconduct, Assistant City Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro has found a reason to cheer about.
This developed after the anti-graft court cleared Castro on charges of violating Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The charges were filed after she was accused of receiving P10,000 payoff from lawyer Gines Abellana on Jan. 25, 2002.
Abellana allegedly wanted to influence the outcome of drug charges in the “Triad Trial” involving three suspected members of a Hong Kong syndicate.
She was charged for violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials, stemming from the recommendation Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas.
Under Sec 7(d) of R.A. 6713, “officials and employees are not allowed to solicit, demand, or receive any amount or money in the course of the performance of one’s function.”
However, Justice Edilberto Sandoval of the the Sandigbayan’s second division said there was not enough evidence against Castro.
“In the light of the established facts and considering the proof required in a criminal case, the court arrives at its considered opinion that the essential element of solicitation or the acceptance of a gift or money of accused Castro has not been proven,” Sandoval said.
Associate Justices Teresita Baldos and Samuel Martires concurred with the decision.
The anti-graft court also allowed Castro to claim the bail bond she earlier posted to secure temporary liberty pending trial.
The hold departure order issued against Castro was also lifted by the court.
In an phone interview, Castro said she was vindicated with the decision. Reporter Ador Vincent
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