Sandiganbayan acquits ex-Gov. Oscar Moreno, aides
The Sandiganbayan acquitted former Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno and other provincial officials of corruption over the lease of heavy equipment from 2007 to 2011.
The antigraft court’s Second Division said the prosecution failed to prove that the lease was fraudulent. Also acquitted were former provincial administrator Patrick Gabutina, former acting provincial budget officer Elmer Wabe, former acting provincial accountant Divina Bade, former general services officer Elsie Lopoy, former assistant provincial engineer Rolando Pacuribot, and former administrative aide Leemar Tinagan.
In an 81-page decision on Friday, the Sandiganbayan pointed out that while “the accused dispensed with the public bidding, they were not shown to have done so with fraudulent or corrupt intent, but to hasten the procurement of heavy equipment.”
It also noted that the prosecution failed to prove the third element of graft, where the actions by the former provincial officials caused undue damage or injury to the government since it was not shown as a result of the transactions.
The decision was penned by Associate Justice Oscar Herrera Jr., the division chair and concurred by Associate Justices Edgardo Caldona and Arthur Malabaguio. —DEMPSEY REYES