High Court clears former NEcija mayor

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THE Supreme Court (SC) has acquitted a former mayor of Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija on charges of falsification of public documents in connection with the alleged forged Certificate of Marriage of two couples in 2009.

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The SC acquitted Amado Corpuz Jr. for failure of the prosecution to prove the former mayor’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

In a decision penned by Associate Justice Jose Portugal Perez and concurred in by Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Bienvenido Perez and Francis Jardeleza, the High Tribunal’s Third Division granted the petition for review on certiorari Corpuz filed as it reversed and set aside the decision of the Sandiganbayan in the two criminal cases filed against him.

Records of the case show that in October 2009, Corpuz supposedly took advantage of his official position and falsified the Certificate of Marriage of Manny Asuncion and Dina Lumanlan, and that of Alex Pascual and Esperanza Arizabal, by certifying that it was he who solemnized their marriage when in truth, it was Thelmo Corpuz Sr., the local civil registrar.

On February 27, 2014, the Sandiganbayan (SB) found Corpuz guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the said omission and sentenced him to imprisonment of up to eight years and fined him P5,000.

The denial of his motion for reconsideration prompted Corpuz to seek redress from the High Tribunal.

In its November 23, 2016 ruling which was released to the media only recently, the High Tribunal held that “in ruling that petitioner was not the one who solemnized the subject marriages, the SB relied heavily on the testimonial evidence of the prosecution’s witnesses, particularly on the common fact that they all witnessed an alleged ceremony conducted on said dates wherein Thelmo 0. Corpuz, Sr., the municipal registrar, was the one who acted as the solemnizing officer, and not petitioner.”

“It further considered the photos and photocopies of the invitations presented and offered as additional proofs to establish the aforesaid incidents which show spouses Pascual and spouses Asuncion standing in front of Thelmo,” the verdict said.

According to the High Tribunal, the prosecution failed to establish the elements of falsification of public documents.

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