In a 23-page decision dated last Oct. 22, the anti-graft court's 1st Division acquitted former Maasin, Sarangani mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr., treasurer Moises Magallona Jr., and budget officer Reina Perpetua Jamora of the crime of falsification charges.
“From the foregoing discussions, it appears clear that the liability of the accused for the crime charged has not been established with the required quantum of proof. Consequently, their acquittal becomes a matter of course,” the anti-graft court ruled.
Court records showed that the three former town officials were accused of allegedly conspiring in the preparation of a supplemental budget, making it appear that a PHP10.75-million internal revenue allotment adjustment was available as source of funds for appropriation ordinance dated Feb. 15, 2010 when it was not.
The supplemental budget was for the salaries, bonuses, and other incentives of 71 newly-appointed regular and 13 contractual employees of the Maasin municipal government.
During the arraignment, all the accused separately entered a “not guilty” plea.
“After a circumspect consideration of the evidence adduced the court is not that the accused acted in conspiracy with each other to commit the crime of falsification of public documents as defined and penalized under Article 171 (4) of the Revised Penal Code,” the Sandiganbayan said it its ruling.