Supreme Court acquits Leyte ex-mayor of graft
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court (SC) has acquitted a former mayor of Leyte, Leyte, of graft.
The high court’s Second Division affirmed a Sandiganbayan decision dismissing the graft case against former mayor Arnold Ysidoro for withholding the representation and transportation allowance (Rata) of an employee in 2001.
Justices Antonio Carpio, Jose Perez, Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Bienvenido Reyes concurred in the decision, which said the Court saw no malice or bad faith in Ysidoro’s actions—even if it was mistaken.
Records of the case showed that from June to December 2001, Ysidoro withheld the allowances (Rata) of Nierna S. Doller, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer of Leyte, Leyte, amounting to P22,125.00.
On the motion of the prosecution, the antigraft court Sandiganbayan issued a 90-day preventive suspension against Ysidoro.
The mayor filed a motion for reconsideration, questioning the necessity and the duration of the preventive suspension.
When the Sandiganbayan denied his motion, Ysidoro elevated the matter to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, trial on the merits of the case continued at the Sandiganbayan. The prosecution and the defense presented their respective evidence.
In a decision dated October 1, 2009, the Sandiganbayan acquitted Ysidoro, saying the second element of the offense—that there should be malice, ill-motive or bad faith—was not present.
The Office of the Ombudsman, through its state prosecutors, elevated the ruling to the Supreme Court.
In its ruling on the pleadings of the Ombudsman and Ysidoro, the Supreme Court said it “acknowledges the fact that Doller was entitled to Rata. However, the antecedent facts and circumstances did not show any indicia of bad faith on the part of [Ysidoro] in withholding the release of Doller’s Rata.”
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