Ex-Antique gov cleared of graft over fertilizer scam
The Sandiganbayan has acquitted former Antique Gov. Salvacion Perez of graft in connection with the P728-million fertilizer fund scam due to the insufficiency of evidence presented by the prosecution. The Special Second Division’s 14-page resolution to grant Perez’s demurrer to evidence is one of the last rulings penned by Justice Samuel Martires, whom President Duterte appointed to the Supreme Court on March 6. Perez was accused of violating 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 said Perez gave herself “unwarranted benefits” and had conflict of interest in endorsing ADF as the sole recipient for the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani grant, because she was an honorary chair of the organization. But the court, in its March 3 resolution, said the prosecution did not present any proof that ADF incorporator “Sally Z. Perez” was Governor Perez. —VINCE F. NONATO
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