Lacuna’s P24-M ill-gotten wealth case goes to court

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THE Office of the Ombudsman gave the green light to pursue the P24-million ill-gotten wealth case of former Vice Mayor Danilo Lacuna of Manila and his wife after evidence of the defense were found to be best left for the Sandiganbayan to judge.

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In a 10-page resolution, the panel of prosecutors junked the motion for reconsideration of the Lacunas saying that the documents they presented are already evidentiary in nature, which court justices should see to appreciate themselves.

“The explanations given by the respondents as to the sources of the funds they used in acquiring the assets in question are better ventilated in a full-blown trial,” the resolution read.

It added that the claims of the Lacumas are already “evidentiary in nature” which necessitates trial to determine the validity of the pieces of evidence.

In filing their motion for re-consideration, Lacuna and his wife Melanie said that most of the real properties and renovations on these came from the savings of the couple.

The vehicles were funded from the incentive package from the Philippine National Bank, where Melanie used to work. Meanwhile the P6.6 million shares of stocks written in the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth of the former politician was a mere typographical error as it was written under the word “stocks.”

In spite of the defense’ claims, fiscals noted that the documents attached to the motion were “mere photocopies and were belatedly introduced.”

They added that Lacuna’s allegation that he only focused on the criminal aspect of the case because he did not know that a civil one could be lodged against him fell short of reasoning.

“His submission appears to be more of an afterthought. To be sure, the belatedly presented documents, photocopies at that, cannot be considered newly discovered evi-dence,” prosecutors said.

They added that the income from the businesses of the couple could not be taken hook, line and sinker and “must be passed upon after trial on merits.”

On May 2012, the Ombudsman filed a civil lawsuit against the Lacunas where the anti-graft agency declared that the couple’s P23.5 million shares of stocks, houses and vehicles were illegally acquired if those were to be compared with the husband-and-wife’s declared income.

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