THE Anti-graft Court has acquitted former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente "Dongkoy" Emano over the charges of refusal to implement a final decision of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), reinstating a city hall worker to her original position in 2013.
In a 13-page decision penned by Associate Justice Chairperson Efren de la Cruz on Friday, October 13, the Sandiganbayan found Emano not guilty and is acquitted on the charge of violation of civil service law on refusal to reinstate city hall employee, Leonor Esparcia.
The decision also said the "hold departure order" issued against Emano by reason of this case has also been lifted and set aside.
"Considering that the prosecution failed to prove that the action of the accused was willful, this court finds the accused not guilty of violation of Sec.121 of the RRACCS in relation to Sec.67, Book V of EO 292," the decision said.
"Upon an assiduous review of the evidence presented by the prosecution, the court finds and so holds that the prosecution has failed to establish that the accused should be held criminally liable," the decision added.
Esparcia charged the erstwhile mayor for demoting her from an administrative assistant III (senior bookkeeper) at the J.R. Borja General Hospital to being a security guard at the city library in 2009.
The CSC issued a decision ordering the restoration of Esparcia to her original position in 2013.
But, Emano insisted there was no writ of execution of the said decision and it coincided with the 2013 election period which prevented him from executing Esparcia's reinstatement.
The Sandiganbayan said "for the accused to effect a reinstatement during the election ban may be construed as a transfer or movement of personnel, and may indeed expose him to possible charges of election offenses,"
Lawyer Francis Ku, Emano's legal counsel, said they argued that the former mayor did not maliciously refuse to reinstate Esparcia, saying 'it was only due to the election ban'.
"End of story," Ku said, adding that Emano has no more pending cases both administrative and criminal before any courts.
For her part, Esparcia said she may likely seek for reconsideration and elevate the case to the Supreme Court.