Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ombudsman finds insufficient evidence in bribery, corruption charges in 2004 elections vs. GMA, et al.

For insufficiency of evidence, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales
dismissed the criminal charges against former President and incumbent
Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) and six other respondents
who allegedly, in conspiracy, committed bribery under Articles 210 and 211
of the Revised Penal Code and violated Section 3 (a) and (e) of Republic Act
No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act during the May 2004
elections in Lanao Del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, Sultan Kudarat, and
Cotabato City.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed in August 2011 by
Pacasirang Batidor, Ahmare Balt Lucman, Hadji Rashid Limbona and
Hadji Abdullah D. Dalidig against GMA, former Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, former Civil Aviation
Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General and former former
Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manger Alfonso Cusi, PPA
Manager Efren Bollozos, former Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Agnes
Devanadera, former Shariah Circuit Court Judge Nagamura Moner, and former
First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

The complaint alleges, among other things, that the respondents,
during the 2004 May elections in the identified Mindanao areas, provided
transportation through the grant of 12 multi-cab vehicles and the use of a
helicopter, and distributed envelopes containing money to unidentified election
officers, in perpetuation of the alleged electoral fraud.

In the 43-page Resolution approved on May 25, 2012, the Ombudsman
found the evidence insufficient since “the complaint contains bare allegations
and pieces of evidence that are unsubscribed, unauthenticated and recanted
affidavits or statements” which cannot engender a well-founded belief that the
crimes have been committed and that the accused are probably guilty thereof
and should stand trial.

On the allegation of bribery, the Resolution stated that “in bribery, it
is essential that the recipient of the bribe is a public officer. Hence before a
prosecutor can declare that there is probable cause for said felony, there should
be proof or showing that the recipient is indeed a public officer. In the present
case, nothing of that sort appears. In fact, as already intimated, the supposed
recipients of the bribe were not named or sufficiently identified.”

The Resolution stated that “for conspiracy to exist, two or more persons
must come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and
decide to commit it.” It explained that the same degree of proof required for
establishing the crime is likewise required to support a finding of conspiracy,
hence, conspiracy must never be presumed.

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