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Sandigan clears Puentevella of graft

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The Second Division of the Sandiganbayan absolved former Bacolod City congressman and former mayor Monico Puentevella and co-accused Jessie Garcia over the alleged overpriced purchase of information technology (IT) packages distributed to different city schools.

The procurement in question was made when Puentevella was still the city’s lone district representative.

In his decision on Criminal Case No. SB-14- CRM- 0108 and promulgated on November 16, Associate Justice Oscar Herrera Jr. said Puentevella and Garcia were acquitted “for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.” (https://bit.ly/36OPILs)

The accused were also absolved from any civil liability, as “acts from which liability may arise do not exist.”

The dispositive portion of the 34-page decision was read Monday during a virtual promulgation.

Along with Herrera, Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Bayani Jacinto also signed the decision. It was certified by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.

Puentevella was charged with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for the IT packages totaling P26 million procured using his Priority Development Assistance Fund. Each computer/IT package reportedly cost P400,000.