• Sandigan acquits ex-DBP head


    The Sandiganbayan’s Special Third Division has acquitted former Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Chairman Vitaliano Nañagas 2nd in the graft and estafa charges filed against him in connection with his trip abroad in 2004 and his reimbursement claims for expenses incurred.

    In a resolution promulgated on Tuesday, the court reversed its ruling convicting Nañagas.

    “After a painstaking re-examination of the records of these cases and an assiduous evaluation of the parties’ arguments, the Court resolves to grant the accused’s motion for reconsideration,” the court said.

    It found upon review that Nañagas’ request for the DBP Board’s approval of his trip abroad and leave application “cannot be considered a ‘transaction or act’ contemplated under Section(i) of R.A. No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, ” because these “are clearly not contracts with a private person involving monetary consideration.”

    Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019 is the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    “In this case, the prosecution failed to prove the presence of the transaction or act requiring the approval of the DBP Board in which the accused was directly interested for personal gain. Perforce, the accused’s constitutional right of presumption of innocence until the contrary is proved has not been overcome; hence, he is entitled to an acquittal for the charge of violation of Section 3(i) of R.A. No. 3019,” it added.

    The court also likewise held that Nañagas “deserves an acquittal” because the prosecution “has not proven the element of deceit.” REINA TOLENTINO


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