Sandigan junks raps vs Negros Oriental governor
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo has been cleared of the graft charges filed against him in connection with the alleged anomalous release of  intelligence funds amounting to P10 million in 2013.

In a 17-page resolution promulgated on Sept. 10 and released yesterday, the Sandiganbayan’s First Division granted Degamo’s motion to dismiss the case.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed charges for  violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Degamo earlier this year.

However, the Sandiganbayan said the key elements of the offense, particulary the giving of unwarranted benefit or advantage to a private party and causing of undue injury to the government, were lacking.

In its ruling, the Sandiganbayan did not dispute Degamo’s argument that the fund was used for expenses related to intelligence operations. 

“The COA (Commission on Audit) did not even issue a notice of disallowance,” the court said.

The anti-graft court said Degamo’s constitutional right to due process was also violated when the case was filed when the governor had a pending motion before the ombudsman.

“Such denial of the accused-movant’s constitutional right effectively ousted the... ombudsman of its authority to file the... criminal complaint...The court may not validly take cognizance of this case on such ground,” the Sandiganbayan said.     

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