MANILA - The Supreme Court has cleared the late Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo of charges of malversation of public funds filed against him and three others over the disbursement of calamity funds in 2011.
In a resolution dated Feb. 22 and publicly released on March 27, the SC First Division dismissed 11 counts of graft charges and 11 counts of falsification raps "on the ground of double jeopardy" against Degamo and co-defendants Danilo Mendez and Teodorico Reyes.
The tribunal also granted the petition for certiorari filed by Degamo and his co-defendants in 2021 as they had been declared not guilty of the charges by the Sandiganbayan Third Division.
Related raps had been filed against them before the anti-graft court's Second Division. This led to the SC's ruling based on the Constitution which states that "no person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense."
Charges against Degamo stemmed from a P480.7-million Special Allotment and Release Order (SARO) that he reportedly requested in 2012 for the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure in Negros Oriental.
The Department of Budget and Management reportedly found anomalies in the procurement of materials and payments for the rehabilitation of infrastructure destroyed by Typhoon Sendong, a deadly storm that struck in 2011, and a powerful earthquake.
Mendez was the provincial treasurer and Reyes was the provincial accountant then.
Degamo and the others were also accused of awarding 11 infrastructure projects worth P143.2 million, the costs of which came from the P480 million.
A fourth defendant, Farouk Macarambon of Fiat Construction Services, was also accused due to his reported involvement in the infrastructure projects.
In 2017, Degamo said the charges were politically motivated.
Earlier this month, Degamo was killed in an armed attack inside his private compound in Barangay San Isidro, Pamplona town.