Sandiganbayan junks graft raps vs. NoCot Gov. Catamco

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Kidapawan City — The 4th Division of Sandiganbayan reversed its earlier Resolution dated November 10, 2020 denying the prosecution’s Manifestation to Withdraw Information against North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco in SB-19-CRM-0100, for violation of Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019 Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The Sandiganbayan resolved the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution dated November 10, 2020 and for Deferment of Arraignment and Pre-Trial filed by Gov. Catamco in her favor in a Resolution promulgated on Tuesday, January 19.

“After due consideration of the arguments and jurisprudence presented and a thorough re-examination of the case insofar as relating to herein accused, the Court is constrained to reverse its previous resolution,” the Sandiganbayan said.

The Sandiganbayan re-examined the evidence on record and was resolved to declare that the evidence of the prosecution against Catamco, as it stands, is insufficient to establish her participation in the alleged crime, through conspiracy, even by circumstantial evidence.

“The emphasis given by the accused on the absence of overt acts to prove her participation in the alleged conspiracy to commit the offense charged is a matter which this Court previously failed to give ample consideration in resolving the prosecution’s Manifestation in denying the motion to withdraw the Information against Catamco. The Court reasoned out that the prosecution may be able to establish the alleged conspiracy by circumstantial evidence sans proof of any overt act on the part of said accused. A re-evaluation of the stance taken by the Court, however, calls for a reversal of its previous ruling, specially in the light of jurisprudential tenets on circumstantial evidence and its requisites,” the Sandiganbayan said.

The Court explained that “for circumstantial evidence to be sufficient for a conviction, the following requisites must occur: (a) there is more than once circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inference are derived have been proven, and (c) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt”.

“The case against accused Nancy Perez (Catamco) in SB-19-CRM-0100 is dismissed,” the Court concluded.

The Court, then, ordered that the cash bond posted by Catamco for her provisional liberty be released and the Hold Departure Order issued against her be lifted and set aside. – Taher G. Solaiman/Newsline.ph

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