Graft court clears 2 ex-mayors, 3 others PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 July 2011 15:44

Two former mayors, a former city engineer and two others were acquitted by the Sandiganbyan of graft charges filed against them in year 1997 in connection with the city government’s purchase of six units of heavy equipment worth P20 million.

Cleared for lack of evidence were former mayor Vitaliano Agan (deceased), former mayor Efren Arañez, former city engineer Vivencio Patagoc (deceased), former general service officer Alfredo Fuertes and City Accountant Sylvia Binarao.

In an 88-page decision, the Sandiganbayan declared that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Agan, et al acted with “evident bad faith” or “manifest partiality” in the acquisition of the heavy equipment through direct purchase from Civic Merchandising Inc., without public bidding.
The Sandiganbayan said there is no evidence that the accused acted in conspiracy in the purchase of the heavy equipment.

“There is no certainty that the accused acted with one another to commit the acts charged. The documents presented do not, to our mind, establish conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt,” said the graft court.

“Evidence for the defense, assuming it to be weak, is no reason to convict, where the case of the prosecution is not strong enough to sustain a conviction,” the court added.

Agan et al were charged for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for the purchase of the heavy equipment without conducting a public bidding and without first complying with the mandatory requirements for direct purchases under the Local Government Code.
The Sandiganbayan promulgated the decision only last week or 15 years after the case was filed in 1997.