Sandiganbayan (File photo)

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan has acquitted former officers and members of the Philippine Army of falsification of public documents in connection with a PHP5-million procurement contract for uniforms of the military branch's bands in 2003.

Acquitted were former Philippine Army commanding general, Lt. Gen. Gregorio Camiling Jr., former Army Support Command Commanding Officer Brig. Gen Severino Estrella, and members of the service's Bids and Awards Committee, namely Col. Cesar Guzman Santos, Col. Jessie Mario Dosado, Col. Barmel Zumel, Capt. George Cabreros, chief accountant Rolando Minel, Col. Cyrano Austria, and lawyer Editha Santos for failure of the prosecution to prove that they gave undue advantage to the supplier.

“The constitution presumes a person innocent until proven guilty by proof beyond reasonable doubt. When guilt is not proven with moral certainty, the presumption of innocence must be favored, and exoneration granted as a matter of right," the anti-graft court stated in a 54-page decision dated April 8.

The case involved a 2003 contract with supplier Dantes Executive Menswear for various combat clothing and individual equipment (CCIE) amounting to PHP5.1 million.

The transaction was split into six separate procurement directives and purchase orders for the CCIE items composed of complete sets of uniform for 540 soldiers under the army's Security and Escort Battalion Band and Headquarters Support Group Band.

In totality, the anti-graft court said documents presented were not enough to establish the guilt of the accused. (PNA)