Sandiganbayan clears ex-Tawi-Tawi governor, 2 others tagged in fertilizer fund scam

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2020 06:12 PM

Former Tawi-Tawi governor Sadikul Sahali was acquitted by the Sandiganbayan second Divsion of graft and malversation charges over the alleged irregular procurement of P1.750 million fertilizers and pesticides in 2004. ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — Former Tawi-Tawi governor Sadikul Sahali was acquitted by the Sandiganbayan Second Division of graft and malversation charges over the alleged irregular procurement of P1.75 million worth of fertilizers and pesticides in 2004.

The supposed anomalous purchase of fertilizers and pesticides was made under the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for distribution to farmer beneficiaries.

The P1.75 million was part of the P728 million farm input fund under the GMA which became the subject of a Senate investigation based on a Commission on Audit report.

Also cleared by the anti-graft court in its decision promulgated last Oct. 16 were former provincial accountant Eldie Lemosnero and general services officer Al Bakri Pilihan.

The Sandiganbayan found during the trial that the funds were liquidated and there was "unrebutted evidence" of distribution of the items to farmer beneficiaries.

"With such critical factor found wanting, a further valuation of the extent of control and accountability - if any - of the three accused over the said fund becomes unnecessary," the court said in the decision penned by Division Chairperson Oscar Herrera, Jr., with the concurrence of Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Bayani Jacinto.

The court also stated in the decision that the accused were likewise cleared of any civil liability.

The hold departure orders against the three were also ordered lifted and set aside, and their bail bonds ordered released.