Ex-Cagayan vice mayor cleared of graft
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - August 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A former vice mayor of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan has been acquitted of the graft charges filed against him for allegedly failing to account for P400,000 in public funds in 2009.

The Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division said prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman failed to establish that Danilo Baccay violated Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code.

Baccay allegedly failed to account for a check worth P400,000 that he received from former legislative officer Christopher Samonte as cash advance for legislative expenses.

However, the anti-graft court said government lawyers failed to prove their allegations against the former vice mayor. 

“This court finds it best not to rely entirely on Samonte’s testimony in resolving the case. Bare allegations of a witness, who himself was accused of the same crime arising from the same factual milieu cannot by itself meet the requisite quantum of evidence to support a judgment of conviction,” the Sandiganbayan  ruling read.

The prosecution should have presented other pieces of evidence to strengthen its argument, the court said in a decision promulgated on Friday last week.

“The prosecution failed to prove Baccay’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. This court has no other recourse but to free accused Baccay of the crime charged,” the Sandiganbayan said.

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