The Sandiganbayan on Monday cleared a former ambassador who was charged for allegedly misusing $17,000.
The anti-graft court’s Special Fourth Division reversed the guilty vedict for graft and malversation rendered on former Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Lauro Baja Jr. over the alleged misuse of $17,542.27 worth of insurance claims due to lack of evidence.
In a split 3-2 decision, gave weight to the affidavit of former Consul General of Guam Teresita Lopez-Mendiola that opening a separate bank account for the insurance money is not prohibited by any law.
“The narration of Consul General Mendiola serve to belie any ill-motive on the part of the accused. In fact, they directly contradict the allegation that he acted in evident bad faith in handling the insurance proceeds he received on behalf of the Philippine Mission in New York,” the anti-graft court said.