By Czarina Ong-Ki
The Sandiganbayan Second Division has denied the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence filed by former Lawaan Mayor Candida E. Gabornes of Eastern Samar in relation to her graft and malversation through falsification case.
Candida and then-Municipal Treasurer Pedro Gabornes were slapped with two counts of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and another two counts of violation of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code or Malversation through Falsification of Public Documents.
On March and April 2012, the accused reportedly made it appear that the municipality purchased spare parts and tires amounting to P30,601.14 and P11,200 for some public purpose, but in truth, the items were installed to her privately-owned Montero SUV.
They filed their respective motions for demurrer on March 15 and 18, 2019, respectively. In her demurrer, Candida said that the prosecution has not presented the required quantum of evidence to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
She argued there is nothing in the complaint as well as documentary and testimonial evidence that would prove the crimes charged against her.
While the subject vehicle appears in paper to be privately owned by her, Candida said it is actually serving the municipality.
Because of this, the repair or maintenance of the car should be legally reimbursed by the municipality.
Meanwhile, Pedro reiterated Candida’s arguments and said in his motion that his guilt has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt since the elements of the crimes charged were not present.
However, the anti-graft court did not buy into their motions.
“After a careful review of the case and the evidence of the prosecution, the Court denies the motions of accused Candida and Pedro. Accused failed to show that the prosecution’s evidence was insufficient to establish a prima facie case against them,” the resolution read.
“The grounds thus raised by the accused in their motions are best appreciated in the course of the trial on the presentation of defense evidence,” it added.
The seven-page resolution was penned by Associate Justice Michael Frederick Musngi with the concurrence of Chairperson Oscar Herrera Jr. and Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna.