MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 6th Division has dismissed nine falsification of public documents cases against Sajid Islam Ampatuan, mayor of Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao.
According to a decision promulgated last Feb. 7, the demurrer to evidence filed by Ampatuan, also a former Maguindanao governor, was granted as the prosecution failed to prove the precise degree of Ampatuan’s participation in the alleged falsification of documents.
“Therefore, such evidence is insufficient to support a verdict of guilt in said cases insofar as accused Ampatuan is concerned,” the court said in its ruling penned by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez. Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Kevin Narce Vivero gave their concurrence.
The nine dismissed cases are part of a total of 145 cases - 4 graft, 4 malversation of public funds, and 137 falsification of public documents over the alleged irregular disbursement of P72.256 million provincial funds for the supposed purchase of materials for school repairs. According to the Ombudsman, the transactions were fictitious and non-existent.
The court noted that documents such as disbursement vouchers, purchase requests and purchase orders had Ampatuan’s name printed, but no signature can be found. Only unidentified initials were found below the name.
It also noted that witnesses testified no records of suppliers were found after conducting validation.
“These may prove the inexistence of the suppliers involved, but not accused Ampatuan’s participation in the alleged falsification,” the court said.
In connection with the dismissal of his 9 cases, the court ordered the lifting the hold departure order against him and the release of the bail bond he posted.
Ampatuan was among those accused of plotting and carrying out the Maguindanao massacre in 2009, but was acquitted.