Sandiganbayan (File photo)

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court has acquitted a former Camarines Sur mayor and two other town officials of falsification of municipal resolutions in 2014.

The anti-graft court cleared former Caramoan mayor Constantino Cordial Jr., former vice mayor Irene Breis, and former Sangguniang Bayan secretary Danilo Belleza in the charges filed by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman-Luzon for two counts of falsification of official documents.

The charges stemmed from two resolutions dated March 24, 2014 where Cordial allegedly made it appear that then councilors Eduardo Bonita, Lydia Obias, and Francis Benemerito "participated in" and "attended" the deliberations on the official documents.

The two resolutions were in connection with the town’s request to the late former president Benigno Aquino III and then Department of the Interior and Local Government secretary Mar Roxas for the “immediate removal” of  Task Force Sagip Kalikasan (Save the Environment), which was blamed for the death of four miners in Barangay Gata two days earlier.

In acquitting the trio, the court said “while there may be negligence in his (Cordial’s) part for not inquiring whether the questioned resolutions were passed in accordance with parliamentary procedure pertinent to the conduct of Sangguniang Bayan session, like any prudent public official should be doing, his act of approving the questioned resolutions by affixing his signature thereon will not lead to the conclusion that accused took advantage of his official position”.

The evidence against Cordial did not show that he took part in the planning or preparation of the questioned resolutions, read the April 8 decision which was recently shared online.

On the vice mayor’s participation, the graft court said the evidence does not show that she exerted moral assistance or moral ascendancy in passing the questioned resolutions.

“What the court appreciate is, the calling of the extended session leading to the crafting and eventual passage of the questioned resolutions was prompted by the urgency of the situation -- to impede the further taking of lives in Barangay Gata,” the 32-page decision read.

The third accused, even if he attested to the existence of the questioned resolutions alleged to be falsified which are under his custody, it “could not be said to be sufficient to justify the conclusion that he intended to commit the crime charged”. (PNA)