Sandiganbayan acquits ex-MisOr guv, execs in graft raps

By Nef Luczon

November 24, 2023, 8:57 pm

<p>Former Misamis Oriental governor and former Cagayan de Oro City mayor Oscar Moreno. <em>(File photo courtesy of OSM)</em></p>

Former Misamis Oriental governor and former Cagayan de Oro City mayor Oscar Moreno. (File photo courtesy of OSM)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Sandiganbayan has acquitted former Misamis Oriental governor Oscar Moreno and other former provincial capitol officials on 11 cases of graft and corrupt practices.

The decision, released on Friday, also ordered the hold departure order of the respondents recalled and set aside.

"When the guilt of the accused has not been proven with moral certainty, it is our policy of longstanding that the presumption of innocence of the accused must be favored, and his exoneration be granted as a matter of right," part of the ruling stated.

Moreno faced graft charges beginning in 2013 when he stepped down from office as governor and became the mayor of this city.

The cases filed against him and former officials include the disallowed lease of heavy equipment contracts from 2007 to 2012.

The Commission on Audit’s Notice of Disallowances for the alleged anomalous contracts became final and executory in January 2015.

One of the complaints showed that from Oct. 2, 2009, to Oct. 2, 2010, the respondents allegedly approved without undergoing any public bidding, the rental of one unit of excavator from Equiprent Corporation amounting to over PHP2.9 million.

The respondents allegedly resorted to Negotiated Procurement as an alternative method and cited the typhoon and weather disturbances that hit the province from 2009 to 2012.

Also acquitted by the Sandiganbayan was former provincial accountant Divina Bade.

Former Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members including ex-provincial legal officer Cancio Guibone, ex-provincial budget officer Elmer Wabe, and ex-provincial administrator Patrick Gabutina were likewise acquitted.

The Sandiganbayan also acquitted other BAC members, consisting of former assistant provincial engineer Rolando Pacuribot, former provincial agriculturist Danilo Maputol, former provincial general services officer Elsie Lopoy, and administrative aide Leemar Tinagan. (PNA)