• Court acquits ex-CDO mayor in graft case


    The Sandiganbayan’s First Division has acquitted former Cagayan De Oro City (CDO) Mayor Vicente Emano in relation to the complaint filed against him over his alleged refusal or failure to reinstate a bookkeeper in a government hospital in 2013.

    Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz penned the ruling which was concurred in by Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg and Edgardo Caldona.

    Francis Ku, Emano’s legal counsel informed The Manila Times of the Sandiganbayan’s decision shortly after the anti-graft court promulgated the acquittal order in open court on Friday morning.

    In its 13-page decision, the anti-graft court found Emano not guilty of violating the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service in relation to the Administrative Code of 1987 due to the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

    “Considering that the prosecution failed to prove that the action of the accused was willful, this court finds the accused not guilty,” the decision reads.

    Emano, in his testimony, said that he filed a motion for reconsideration before the Court of Appeals, which was denied.

    However, Emano said he did not reinstate Esparcia at that time because of the election ban for the 2013 midterm elections and the absence of the writ of execution from the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

    In acquitting him, the court said that Emano “should have executed the subject decision as early as February 25, 2013 when he learned of the denial of his motion for reconsideration. However, the lack of a writ of execution from the CSC and the fact that he has a pending appeal before the CA negate the impression that he willfully refused to implement the said decision. Add to this the prevailing circumstance that while he was the chief executive, he was a layman who depended on the legal advice of the lawyers employed in the City Legal Office.”

    Esparcia was reinstated on July 2, 2013, according to the court’s ruling.

    “As to prejudice, it is not disputed that Esparcia was already reinstated to her original position since July 2013 and has received back wages for the months that she was detailed,” the Sandiganbayan said.

    Esparcia, a senior bookkeeper of the city-owned J. R. Borja Hospital, filed the complaint with the CSC after Emano reassigned her as security guard at the city’s public library.

    Reacting to the case, Esparcia said, “I was surprised why the case was elevated to the Sandiganbayan. I already lost track of it,” adding that she had already been reinstated at the city hospital and had received her benefits and back wages.

    with   CRIS DIAZ


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