Asarul, former Sumisip acting treasurer Camilian Borjal and former acting accountant Marad Abdulkarim were cleared of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 7160 or the Local Government Code.
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Ex-Basilan mayor cleared of graft
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has junked the graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against former mayor Haber Asarul of Sumisip, Basilan.

Asarul, former Sumisip acting treasurer Camilian Borjal and former acting accountant Marad Abdulkarim were cleared of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 7160 or the Local Government Code.

The court granted their petition to dismiss the charges due to the weak evidence of the prosecution.

“The burden is on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, not on the accused to prove his innocence... It would be superfluous to still require the parties to go through the rigors of trial considering that the prosecution evidence is not sufficient enough to warrant the conviction of the accused beyond reasonable doubt,” the anti-graft court’s second division said in a decision released yesterday.

Asarul, Borjal and Abdulkarim were accused of using government funds to pay for their personal loan amounting to P2 million from private individual Al-Mashour Alibasa in October 2010.

Graft probers said the former officials conspired in issuing postdated checks worth P1.1 million drawn from the Land Bank of the Philippines account of the municipal government. 

However, the Sandiganbayan said the  prosecution failed to establish the undue injury suffered by either the private party or the government.

The court said the prosecution also failed to present proof that the issued checks were drawn against the account of the municipal government.

“Regrettably, the plaintiff failed to discharge its task of proving the actual loss or damage suffered by the private complainant as well as the government,” the court ruling read.

As to alleged violation of Section 89 of the Local Government Code, which prohibits the possession or use of local government property for personal purposes, the court said no witness was presented to prove the allegation.

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna. Associate Justices Oscar Herrera Jr. and Michael Frederick Musngi concurred with the ruling.

HABER ASARUL
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