The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has acquitted former Pangasinan governor Amado T. Espino Jr. of all criminal charges filed against him and his co-accused.
The Sandiganbayan promulgated Thursday December 3, its 55-page decision in SB-16-CRM-0118 and SB-16-CRM-0119 filed against Espino.
Espino was charged with two (2) counts of Violation of Section 3 (e) of RA 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for acts committed sometime in June 2011, of allegedly giving unwarranted benefit, privilege or advantage to Alexandra Mining and Oil Ventures Inc. and causing undue injury to the government by allowing the company to undertake soil remediation and/or magnetite and mineral extraction despite the fact that said company is not lawfully entitled to conduct mining activities.
For the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the Sandiganbayan acquitted Espino and his co-accused.
Former Provincial Administrator Rafael F. Baraan and Provincial Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Office (PHUDCO) chief Alvin L. Bigay of the Provincial Government of Pangasinan were also cleared from criminal charges.
Likewise, the hold departure order (HDO) issued against the said accused is lifted and set aside, and the bonds posted for their provisional liberty are released.
Others co-accused, all private individuals, were also acquitted.
They are Cesar E. Detera, Edwin T. Alcazar, Lolita D. Bolayog and Michael P. Ramirez.
The Sandiganbayan decision was penned by Associate Justice Kevin Narce B. Vivero, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Sarah Jane T. Fernandez and Karl B. Miranda, according to a report from the Pangasinan Provincial Capitol.