Former Rizal Provincial Governor Casimiro “Ito” Ynares, Jr. hailed the decision of the Sandiganbayan acquitting him and several other local government officials of graft charges in connection with the purchases of fertilizers for the farmers of the province in 2004.
In a statement sent to Manila Bulletin, Ynares said the verdict of acquittal “has not only proven our innocence, but has likewise shown to all that our efforts to help our farmers in 2004 were legal, above-board, and free of any stain of irregularity.”
In a decision dated Oct. 7, the Sandiganbayan said “the prosecution failed to sufficiently establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.”
“It cannot be concluded that the purchases (of the fertilizer) were disadvantageous to the government because no determination was made by the prosecution to show that the prices at which they were bought by the Province of Rizal were at a disadvantage,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The decision was penned by Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice and Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang. Associate Justices Ronald Moreno and Bernelito Gernandez concurred.
Ynares said he and his family “have had to endure the agony of a protracted trial for the past 11 years.”
“Despite this, I am grateful to the Sandiganbayan for providing me and my colleagues with a proper forum before which we could defend our honor,” Ynares said.
“During that difficult period, I have had to remind myself that wrongful accusations such as the one hurled against us is part of the cost of serving the public,” Ynares added.
Aside from Ynares, Jr., also acquitted by the Sandiganbayan were former Officer-in-Charge Provincial Accountant Cecilia C. Almajose, Officer-In-Charge Provincial Agriculturist Danilo R. Rumbawa, and Bids and Awards Committee members Eugene Durusan, Victorina Olea, Eduardo Torres, Virgilio Esguerra, and Marilyn U. Araos.
“After an assiduous assessment of the pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution in these cases, the Court finds that the prosecution has failed to sufficiently establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt for the crimes charged,” the decision stated.
Ynares said that “despite the pain of the wrongful accusation, the resolution of this case in favor of our innocence by the Sandiganbayan has further strengthened our faith in the justice system in our country.”
“It has not in any way diminished our resolve to put ourselves at the disposal and at the service of our countrymen, particularly our fellow Rizaleños,” he added.