by Allan Yves Briones
A finding of insufficient evidence has scrapped the graft and technical malversation charges against nine former Philippine National Police (PNP) officials involved in the 2008 “Euro Generals” scandal.
“(The prosecution) failed to sufficiently establish the essential elements of the crimes charged and to overcome the presumption of innocence in favor of the accused,” the Sandiganbayan 2nd Division stated in a resolution dated October 18.
Effectively acquitted were the following, all former police officials:
- Eliseo dela Paz, former PNP comptroller
- Emmanuel Carta
- Ismael Rafanan
- Orlando Pestaño
- Samuel Rodriguez
- German Doria
- Romeo Ricardo
- Tomas Rentoy III
- Jaime Caringal
According to the court, the prosecution’s arguments regarding the guidelines for the proper utilization of PNP’s confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) did not hold much water.
“These pieces of evidence do not prove that the use of the CIF for the expenses incurred by the PNP in its participation to the Interpol Assembly is not a covered expense,” the resolution stated.
The prosecution’s case sought to prove that the accused illegally disbursed P10 million from the CIF to be used as travel funds for their trip to the 77th Interpol General Assembly, held in Russia in 2008.
Controversy erupted upon the discovery by Russian authorities of undeclared cash in the care of dela Paz and his wife worth P6.9 million on their way home from the conference – for which they were briefly detained.
In their complaint, the prosecution claimed that the police officials are liable violations of Section 3(a) and (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code or the illegal use of public funds.
However, court saw otherwise.
“There is no showing that the attendance of the officers did not benefit the PNP or the government. In fact, the evidence presented by the prosecution shows that the INTERPOL Assembly was an official activity and thus, negates the accused’s alleged evident bad faith,” the court said.
As a result of the case’s dismissal, the anti-graft court has also directed the lifting of the previously imposed hold departure order, and the release of their posted bonds. #