THE Sandiganbayan anti-graft court on Thursday exonerated former Parañaque City mayor Joey Marquez on the three counts of graft filed against him over the purchase of alleged overpriced ammunition during his time in office.
Marquez, who became famous as a comedian and infamous from his very public fallout with ex-lover Kris Aquino, was all smiles as the court’s Second Division handed down its 63-page verdict. The Office of the Ombudsman filed the cases against him in 2003.
Also acquitted aside from Marquez was his co-accused, Ofelia Caunan, the former head of Parañaque’s General Services Office, for the purchase of ammunition when he was still local chief executive in 1995, 1997 and 1998.
“Although administrative lapses may have occurred…conviction in these cases would nonetheless be unwarranted due to the failure of the prosecution to prove all the essential elements of the offense charged,” the decision read.
The Ombudsman’s charges were based on an audit report saying the city government acquired rounds of ammunition that were overpriced by P1.219 million. The items were bought to be used by then-Mayor Marquez’s bodyguards.
The purchase was reportedly carried out sans public bidding.
Also a former professional basketball player, Marquez had been convicted by the Sandiganbayan of graft over the purchase of overpriced brooms when he was mayor in 1996 and 1997.
The Supreme Court overturned this decision in 2009 and in 2011, the Sandiganbayan cleared Marquez’s name.