Sandiganbayan clears ex-postmaster general of graft
The First Division of the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court acquitted on Friday former Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) General Diomedio Villanueva over an alleged P53 million graft case.
Villanueva's case was filed in 2003, when he was head of PPC, which stemmed from an allegedly anomalous P53.04 million refund to Philpost USA, a private New York-based corporation.
The Sandiganbayan said Villanueva, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is cleared from one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“For failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, accused Diomedio Villanueva is hereby acquitted of the charge of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019,” The 13-page decision issued on Friday read.
The court said Villanueva only approved of the refund, as he said in his defense, based on the recommendation of his co-accused, former assistant postmaster general and general manager for finance Antonio Siapno, who remains at large.
"Accused Villanueva's course of action shows that he was guided by good faith in performing his duties as Postmaster General, designating and seeking the opinion of his subordinates on matters which he is not particularly an expert of," the decision signed by by Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz, with concurrence from Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg and Edgardo Caldona said.
“(Villanueva) did not misrepresent anything to Siapno with regard to the refund sought, nor did he persuade or influence the latter into agreeing with the refund. Also there was no showing that accused Villanueva stood to gain anything should a refund be effected,” it added.
Sandiganbayan explained Villanueva's decision does not consider as gross inexcusable negligence.
The hold-departure order against the former postmaster was lifted and his P30,000 bail bond was also released as decided by Sandiganbayan. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS