The Sandiganbayan acquitted former Deputy Executive Director of the Department of Finance (DOF), Uldarico P. Andutan Jr., of his bribery and tampering charges for the prosecution’s failure “to prove his guilt with moral certainty”.
Andutan was charged with violations of Section 3(j) of Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Corruption and Corrupt Practices Act, and Section 171(4) of the Revised Penal Code on falsification of public documents, along with other officials and members of the DOF. of the Inter-Agency Center for Tax Credits and Rebates (CENTRE) Antonio P. Belicena, Raul C. De Vera and Rosanna P. Diala.
On June 30, 1997, the accused allegedly conspired with private individuals Amelia C. De Dios and Joseph A. Cabotaje when they issued Tax Credit Certificate No. 007709 for P5,038,097 to Columbus Philippines Bus Corporation for the purchase of six units of Mitsubishi Fuso RS 115 for P28 062 030.
The anti-corruption court had already acquitted De Vera and Diala, while the cases against Belicena and Cabotaje were dismissed.
In acquitting Andutan, the anti-corruption court said the prosecution failed to prove its conspiracy theory between the defendants.
He said that while Andutan recommended approving the tax credit calculation, there was no conclusive evidence that he did so “in pursuit of any unlawful common purpose or purpose.” .
“Because defendant Andutan is not the approving authority and there is no conspiracy between him and Belicena, the former cannot be held criminally responsible for approving d’s credit application. ‘Columbus tax,’ the court said.
“Neither defendant can be faulted for his recommendation since the prosecution has failed to prove that he knew beforehand that Columbus was not qualified or entitled to the tax credit sought,” a- he added.
Meanwhile, the case against De Dios has been filed as she is still at large.
The 23-page decision was written by Associate Justice Lorifel L. Pahimna with the concurrence of Fourth Division President Alex L. Quiroz and Associate Justice Bayani H. Jacinto.
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