• ORIENTAL MINDORO

    Lawmaker seeks to dismiss graft case

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    Former Calapan City Mayor and now Rep. Paulino Salvador Leachon of Oriental Mindoro has asked the Sandiganbayan to allow him file a motion seeking to dismiss the graft case filed against him.

    In a motion filed on Friday, Leachon asked the anti-graft court to let him file a demurrer to evidence. A demurrer submits the case for judgment based only on the latter’s evidence on ground that proof does not warrant conviction.

    “After a painstaking review of all the Prosecution’s documentary exhibits and the testimonies of the witnesses, undersigned counsel, with due respect, is fully convinced that the Prosecution’s evidence on record as whole is not legally sufficient to establish the guilt of accused Leachon beyond reasonable doubt,” defense lawyer Benjamin Santos wrote.

    “This motion is not intended to delay the proceedings but is solely motivated by the desire to relieve the Honorable Court from spending precious time and energy unnecessarily in further trying the case and to spare accused Leachon from the inconvenience, expenses, anxiety and embarrassment of further trial,” he added.

    The Office of the Ombudsman alleged that in about 2009, Leachon who was Calapan City Mayor at the time, City Engineer Benjamin Acedera, and then-Guinobatan Barangay Captain Ernesto Viñas gave unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to private individual Juan Viñas by allowing the use of five city government dump trucks including city drivers to deliver and unload sand in Viñas’ property without paying rental fees.

    The case was filed before the Sandiganbayan in 2011.

    The defense argued that the testimonies of key prosecution witnesses the prosecution only pointed to one fact – the alleged sand came from the Ibaba River where there was a legitimate joint dredging and flood mitigation project between the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Calapan city government.

    It added that the prosecution never established that Leachon was in evident bad faith when he allegedly knowingly authorized the delivery of sand to Viñas’ house using government trucks.

    “Accused Leachon was only implicated because as the then City Mayor, he allegedly conspired with the other accused by directing the unloading of ‘sand’ on the ground area where the house of Juan Vinas is located. There is nothing in the extant records, as well as in the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution, to show that accused Leachon conspired with the other accused. Neither is there any showing that he was aware of the criminal intent of the other accused, if that be the case,” the defense said.

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