Sally Perez who? Sandigan acquits Antique gov in fertilizer fund scam
Sally Z. Perez who?
The Sandiganbayan has acquitted former Antique Governor Salvacion Perez of graft in connection with the P728-million fertilizer fund scam over the insufficiency of prosecution evidence.
The Special Second Division’s 14-page resolution to grant Perez’s demurrer to the evidence is one of the last rulings penned by Justice Samuel Martires, whom President Rodrigo Duterte appointed to the Supreme Court on March 6.
Perez is accused of violating Sections 3(e) and 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over her allegedly irregular endorsement of Antique Development Foundation, Inc. (ADF) to implement the Department of Agriculture’s P5-million Farm Input/Farm Implement project.
State prosecutors claimed that Perez gave herself unwarranted benefits and had conflict of interest in endorsing ADF as the sole recipient for the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) grant, because she was an honorary chairman of the non-government organization.
But, according to the March 3 resolution, the prosecution did not present any proof that ADF incorporator “Sally Z. Perez” is also the same person as Governor Salvacion Z. Perez.
“While it is certain that accused favorably endorsed ADF as the NGO to implement the DA-Region 6 FIFI Project, it is not certain if she is an incorporator of the same,” the resolution read.
Even if the Commission on Audit stated in its report that Perez was really a member of the ADF board, the court said “this claim of CoA was not supported by any evidence at all.”
The court also noted that the project actually belonged to the DA regional office, and not the provincial government. This meant it was then director Ricardo Oblena, not Perez, who had the final say regarding the NGO’s endorsement.
The resolution further reasoned out: “There is also no evidence showing that if there is no endorsement, ADF would not have been chosen as the recipient NGO.”
Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Geraldine Faith Econg concurred with Martires’ ponencia.
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