MANILA — The Sandiganbayan has acquitted several former National Printing Office (NPO) officials of 2 counts of graft related to a P3.6-million procurement of official forms in 2011.
The prosecution failed to establish the guilt of accused Emmanuel Andaya, Sylvia Banda, Josefina Samson, Antonio Sillona, Bernadette Lagumen and Ma. Gracia Enriquez, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division said in a decision promulgated last Aug. 30.
The Office of the Ombudsman earlier accused the group of giving unwarranted benefits to JI Printers for the negotiated procurement of personalized accountable forms, as requested by the Provincial Treasurer of Cebu, which was allegedly disadvantageous to the government.
The court said that while the transaction did not undergo public bidding and was done through an emergency procurement, it was not “whimsical” on the part of the accused as the procurement “went through the usual office procedures being observed by the NPO.”
“The prosecution has the duty to prove each and every element of the crime charged in the information to warrant a finding of guilt for the said crime or for any other crime necessarily included therein. In the case at bar, the prosecution failed to establish all the essential elements,” the anti-graft court said.
It said that no civil liability may be adjudged against the accused. It also ordered the release of the accused's bonds and the lifting of the hold departure orders against them.
In 2015, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the accused from service for grave misconduct in relation to the P3.6-million procurement.
The Sandiganbayan ruling was penned by Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and concurred in by Division Chairperson Rafael Lagos and Associate Justice Maryann Corpus-Manalac.