The Sandiganbayan has acquitted former Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) Postmaster General Hector Ronald R. Villanueva and Chief Executive Staff Juliana C. Dimalanta of their graft charges for alleged irregular appointment of a consultant from June 2007 to 2009.
They were charged with graft for the appointment of the late Assistant Executive Secretary Antonio F. Corrado, who simultaneously held the positions of legal and management consultant to the PPC and official in the Office of the President.
Aside from graft, Corrado was also charged with violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. However, the charges were dismissed last Feb. 15 on account of his death.
The prosecution faulted Villanueva and Dimalanta for allowing Corrado to receive PPC allowances, reimbursements for hotel and restaurant expenses as well as salaries amounting to P1.05 million.
However, in a 42-page decision written by Fourth Division Chairperson Michael Frederick L. Musngi, the Sandiganbayan said that the prosecution failed in its duty to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of Villanueva and Dimalanta.
Associate Justices Lorifel L. Pahimna and Bayani H. Jacinto concurred.
“In the present case, the Court finds that accused Villanueva was not spurred by a corrupt motive or deliberate intent to do wrong,” the court said.
“The Court is likewise not convinced with the claim of the prosecution that accused Villanueva and Dimalanta were grossly negligent, without excuse, in the handling of PPC funds because they allowed accused Corrado to receive payments in question,” it said.
The court pointed out that when Corrado received the amounts in question for the years 2007 to 2009, no Audit Observation, Notice of Suspension, nor Notice of Disallowance were even issued by the Commission on Audit (COA).
“Besides, the Court notes that the amount given to Corrado in the form of an honorarium is not entirely misplaced considering that there are official issuances that grants the same for additional services rendered by a public official, with compliance to certain conditions,” the court also said.
TAGS: #Sandiganbayan #Philippine Postal Corporation