Sandigan junks perjury raps vs ex-Bukidnon lawmaker

THE anti-graft court has dismissed the perjury charges filed against former Bukidnon representative and current Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) general manager Nereus Acosta and his mother, Socorro.

In a resolution, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division granted the demurrers to evidence filed by the Acostas due to the "insufficiency of prosecution evidence" against them.

"Verily, there lies an insufficiency of evidence to sustain the charges filed against the accused," the resolution read.

In October 2012, the Office of the Ombudsman filed perjury cases against the Acostas for the alleged unlawful transfer of P5.5 million from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the former Bukidnon representative to a family-ran farmers' cooperative.

Based on the initial investigation, Acosta's PDAF allocation was given to the Bukidnon Vegetable Producers' Cooperative (BVPC), which was allegedly being run by his relatives led by his mother.

The Ombudsman said the Acostas made bogus declarations in their respective counter-affidavits where they claimed that the channelling of funds had the concurrence of the municipal council of Manolo Fortich, where the older Acosta was former mayor.

Further investigation revealed that he municipal council did not approved any resolution allowing such fund transfer.

The anti-graft court argued "it was not clear whether it was deliberately made (by Acosta) to delude the audit officials into believing that he was able to obtain such concurrence."

"The subject material matter subject of the inquiry… cannot be known since the complaint filed in said case was not offered as evidence by the prosecution," the court said.

The Acostas are facing separate graft cases before the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division in connection with the fund transfer. (Sunnex)
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