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Sandiganbayan clears Gov Degamo of graft

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Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has been cleared of charges concerning the alleged 2013 misuse of P10-million worth of intelligence funds.

The Sandiganbayan 1st Division has issued a resolution granting Degamo’s motion to quash the graft case against him.

“Wherefore, premises considered, the instant urgent motion to quash and motion to dismiss the information filed by the accused-movant Roel R. Degamo, through counsel, is hereby granted and that accordingly, the instant criminal case is hereby dismissed,” read the resolution of the anti-graft court.

Records show that Degamo submitted the province’s proposed 2013 budget in October 2012 to the provincial council which included intelligence expenses worth P10 million.

However, when the budget got approved omitting the intelligence fund, Degamo questioned the non-inclusion and issued a memorandum demanding its release.

After the Commission on Audit (COA) the release due to the absence of an approved ordinance, Degamo eventually returned the P10 million when the COA issued a notice of suspension in May 2017.

In its resolution, the court pointed out Degamo could not be indicted since the money was not even used.

“In other words, and as stated in the information itself, the subject amount was admittedly not for the personal benefit of the accused-movant but to defray for the expenses which were incurred for different activities related to intelligence operations,” it ruled.