In a 16-page resolution dated Sept. 26 and released to media Tuesday, the SC granted the petition filed by Maliksi and private individual Cynthia S. Montesclaros and reversed the Ombudsman's ruling against the two.
"The Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion in finding the existence of evident bad faith, gross inexcusable negligence and manifest partiality," the SC said in its resolution.
The case arose as an offshoot of the deal in February 2008 when the Light Rail Transit Authority and the Cavite provincial government entered into a Memorandum of Agreement for the identification, acquisition and development of a relocation site for the informal settlers affected by the LRT-1 South Extension Project.
LRT obligated and released the initial amount of PHP500,000 to fast-track the implementation of the project.
In January 2009, Cavite entered into a deed of absolute sale with Montesclaros over 14 parcels of land in Barangay Santiago, General Trias, Cavite measuring 209,147 square meters for a total of PHP125.48 million.
The province, however, ended paying up additional PHP16 million for additional expenses.
On March 31, 2011, the Commission on Audit (COA) issued a notice of disallowance for the payments for lack of basis as the deed of absolute sale provided that the purchase price was already net of taxes, fees, expenses, brokers' commission, tenants' disturbance compensation and damages.
The controversy eventually prompted the corruption complaint against Maliksi.