Ex-Cebu municipal accountant turns state witness against mayor

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by Allan Yves Briones

The Sandiganbayan 6th Division has granted the Office of the Ombudsman’s request to turn former Ronda municipal accountant Genara Kasayan into a state witness in a graft case shared with the former mayor.

“As this Court found, accused Kasayan’s testimony would be necessary to establish the circumstances surrounding the release of the subject cash advances. Needless to state, actually putting her on the witness stand to examine her on her Judicial Affidavit is no less necessary,” the anti-graft court stated in a resolution.

In its motion, the prosecution called for the discharge of Kasayan to testify as a state witness to testify on the existence of a conspiracy between former Ronda mayor Esteban Sia and former municipal treasurer Esperato Socorro in relation to the release of several cash advances, which were subsequently not liquidated.

The former mayor countered, stating that there is “no absolute necessity” for Kasayan’s testimony, and that a conspiracy would mean they would be discharged as well, if the prosecution’s request is to be granted.

The court ruled otherwise, stating that Section 17, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court is clear on the requirements for the discharge of an accused to be a state witness.

“The Court is satisfied that the requirements for the discharge of accused Kasayan were met,” the resolution read.

In addition, the court stated that Sia’s argument that a conspiracy would discharge all three does not persuade.

“While all the accused may be given the same penalty by reason of conspiracy, yet one may be considered least guilty if We take into account is degree of participation in the perpetration of the offense,” the court said, citing the Supreme Court case of People vs. Ocimar.

Sia, Kasayan and Socorro were charged with graft over allegedly taking advantage of their positions to fail to liquidate P2.06 million in public funds, which were utilized as cash advances.

The resolution was written by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez, concurred by Associate Justices Karl Miranda and Kevin Narce Vivero. #