Former Accountant Dinah C. Barriga of Carmen town in Cebu has been acquitted by the Sandiganbayan of malversation and illegal use of public funds allegedly committed 27 years ago.
Barriga was charged with misappropriating P23,047.20 in January 1996. The money was intended for the payment of five rolls of Poly Ethylene pipes to be used in the Corte-Cantumog Water System Project.
For illegal use of public funds, she was accused of using P1,305 in November 1995. The money was part of the Central Visayas Water and Sanitation Project Trust Fund (CVWSP Fund) intended and appropriated for projects classified under Level I and III for the Spring Box of Barangay Natimaoan in Carmen, Cebu.
The prosecution claimed that Barangay Natimaoan was not included as a recipient of the CVWSP Trust Fund.
In a decision promulgated last May 23, the fourth division of the anti-graft court said that the evidence presented by the prosecution failed to establish how Barriga conspired with late Mayor Virginio S. Villamor to commit the crimes charged.
“In these cases, the participation of the two accused to commit the crimes were not adequately proven. The mere fact that accused Villamor is the municipal mayor and accused Barriga is the municipal accountant is certainly not sufficient to justify the conclusion that they conspired to commit the crime,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The court said the prosecution failed to prove the specific law or ordinance appropriating the funds in question for a particular public purpose. This would have been essential in establishing that the accused used the funds for another purpose than what it was intended for, it added.
The decision was written by Fourth Division Chairperson Alex L. Quiroz with the concurrence of Associate Justices Lorifel L. Pahimna and Bayani H. Jacinto.