Ex-PNP official, 8 others cleared of bribery

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2011 09:09 PM | Updated as of Jul 06 2011 05:09 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director Reynaldo Acop and 8 other police officials have been cleared by the Sandiganbayan Second Division on a bribery charge.

Associate Justice Teresita V. Diaz-Baldos, in a June 15, 2011 decision, dismissed the case for lack of evidence and reversed the court's September 2010 resolution.

The ruling was in response to motions for reconsideration filed by Acop, Supt. Francisco Villaroman, and Chief Inspector Julius Caesar Mana.
 
The Sandiganbayan also cleared Chief Insp. Denn Reed Tuvera, Insp. Cesar Aquino, SPO2 Antonio Ventura, SPO1 Danilo Castro, PO3 Ferdinand Apuli, and PO1 Anthony Ong.
 
Prosecutors accused the 9 officers of pocketing HK$300,000 and 10 kilograms of shabu in exchange for junking drug trafficking cases against 4 Chinese who were arrested in Quezon City last December 6, 1998.
 
Mary Ong alias "Rosebud" took the witness stand and told the court that she went to Hong Kong on December 9, 1998 to negotiate for the release of suspects Lu Shao Min, Wang Jin Luan, Jin Piao Wang Chua, and Li Jiazhu.
 
The 4 Chinese nationals were freed on December 11, 1998, and the Quezon City Prosecutors Office junked the case against them for a "lack of interest to prosecute on the part of the government witnesses."
 
The Sandiganbayan ruling said 3 days after the 4 suspects were released, HK$300,000 in alleged bribe money was deposited at the Hang Seng Bank.

"It thus appears that the Chinese nationals were already released from detention even before part of the P3 million offer was remitted from Hong Kong. On that basis, the claim of accused Acop is correct, that the release of the Chinese nationals was upon the directive of the Quezon City Prosecutor, and not by the alleged 'payoff'," the anti-graft court said.