Sandiganbayan junks graft cases vs ex-Camarines Norte officials

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan threw out two graft charges against former provincial officials of Camarines Norte after evidence presented by the prosecution fell short.

In a resolution dated October 23, the anti-graft court's 2nd Division granted the demurrers to evidence filed by former provincial agriculturist Rodolfo Salamero, former provincial treasurer Lorna Coreses, and former general services officer Jose Rene Rudeira.

The 3 were accused along with former governor Jesus Typoco of violating Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over a transaction involving P1 million worth of agricultural inputs in 2004.

In dismissing the case, the Sandiganbayan said that prosecution witnesses admitted to not having any personal knowledge of the defendants' involvement in the transaction.

The evidence also failed to show that the 3 acted in bad faith or committed gross inexcusable negligence.

"Simply put, the prosecution failed to prove the charges in the instant criminal cases with the required quantum of proof in order to convict," the court said.

Salamero, Coreses, and Rudeira were members of the local government's Bids and Awards Committee. Prosecutors accused them of favoring a certain supplier for Kaneko vegetable seeds after investigators found that no public bidding was conducted.

"To require the accused to adduce evidence for their defense would therefore be futile and unnecessary," the Sandiganbayan said. –