Walang ebidensya: Sandiganbayan clears Echiverri in P8M graft case

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Former Caloocan City mayor Enrico Echiverri has been acquitted from a graft case by the Sandiganbayan 1st Division over alleged irregularities in an P8 million road and drainage improvement contract.

“It appears crystal clear that the prosecution failed to prove the charges in the instant crimInal cases with the required quantum of proof in order to convict at this stage of the proceedings. It is therefore futile to still require the accused to adduce evidence for their defense,” read the anti-graft court’s decision.

Apart from him, the court also acquitted his co-accused city accountant Edna Centeno and city budget officer Jesusa Garcia of graft as well as falsification of public documents.

The case is part of 43 other cases Echiverri is facing concerning projects under the P1.42 billion loan from Landbank.

In its decision, the court pointed out the deal to give the project to P. B. Grey Construction did not cause undue injury to the government.

“No less than prosecution witness Esperanza Martinez admitted that the City of Caloocan continues to benefit from the omnibus term loan up to the year 2016 which, in turn, is a clear indication that the Land Bank of the Philippines has been satisfied with the way the local government unit has complied with its obligation thereunder,” the court pointed out.