The Sandiganbayan has acquitted former mayor Filemon Mamaril Galsim of Santa Cruz town in Occidental Mindoro of his graft charge in connection with the alleged overpriced purchase of a piece of land in 2012.
In a resolution, the Sandiganbayan said “there is an absence of clear factual basis to support the finding that the subject contract is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government.”
It said the prosecution “merely presented voluminous documents without sufficiently proving its case, and it also failed to show bad faith or malice on the part of accused Galsim.”
Galsim was accused of violating Section 3(g) of Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, when he purchased on behalf of the municipality a 2,123-square-meter lot in Poblacion II, Sta. Cruz, owned by Teresita Asis Mercene for P702.70 per square meter.
But the prosecution said the P1,491,832 paid for the piece of land was manifestly disadvantageous to the government since the approved market value was fixed at only P580 per square meter.
As a result, the prosecution said undue injury was caused to the local government in the amount of P260,492.10.
When the Sandiganbayan checked the Schedule of Base Unit Fair Market Values for Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Lands, it discovered that there was an increase in the base unit value of lands located along the provincial road from P580 per square meter in 2007 to P860 per square meter in 2012.
Thus, the court said, the P702.70 per square meter price for the land paid for by Galsim on behalf of the municipality was actually lower than the base unit value.
The Sandiganbayan’s decision was written by Associate Justice Michael Frederick L. Musngi and concurred in by Associates Justices Oscar C. Herrera Jr. and Bayani H. Jacinto.