In a decision promulgated yesterday, the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division said the Office of the Ombudsman failed to prove that Leachon and his co-accused acted with manifest partiality and evident bad faith and that their acts caused undue injury to the government or unwarranted benefit to a private party.
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Mindoro lawmaker cleared of graft
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Oriental Mindoro First District Rep. Paulino Salvador Leachon has been acquitted of graft over the alleged illegal use of dump trucks owned by the Calapan City government when he was mayor in 2009.

In a decision promulgated yesterday, the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division said the Office of the Ombudsman failed to prove that Leachon and his co-accused acted with manifest partiality and evident bad faith and that their acts caused undue injury to the government or unwarranted benefit to a private party.

“The accused... were pursuant to the legitimate exercise of their public office and was meant to benefit the government and residents of Calapan City,” the anti-graft court ruling read.

Also cleared of the charges were former city engineer Benjamin Acedera and private respondent Juan Viñas.

The court had earlier dismissed the case filed against Ernesto Viñas, former chairman of Barangay Guinobatan due to his death last year.

The respondents allegedly allowed Juan Viñas to use five dump trucks as well as the drivers of the city government to deliver and unload sand at his property ”without the corresponding payment of rental.”

However, the Sandiganbayan said the respondents ”sufficiently established” that the accumulation of the sand that were dumped in Viñas’ property was the result of the dredging project undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways in cooperation with the city government.

The court said the memorandum of understanding between Viñas and the city government stated that it shall deliver the dredged materials to his property.

The Sandiganbayan said the prosecution also failed to established that Viñas was singled out by Leachon and his co-accused as the sole beneficiary of the dredged sand.

With the acquittal, the court lifted the hold departure order it issued against the accused. It also ordered the release of the P30,000 bail that each of them posted.

GRAFT AND CORRUPTION PAULINO SALVADOR LEACHON
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