A scion of the Ampatuan clan of Maguindanao was cleared of nine counts of falsification of public documents by the Sandiganbayan.
The anti-gratt court’s Sixth Division exonerated for ”insufficient evidence” Mayor Datu Sajid Islam Uy Ampatuan of Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao of eight counts of falsification of public documents.
The case arose from the grant of P77 million worth of construction and lumber materials to four suppliers during his term as Maguindanao governor a decade ago.
The court granted Ampatuan’s demurrer to evidence or motion for dismissal of charges without presenting evidence for the defense after the prosecution failed to provide evidence to pin him down.
It gave credence to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Mila Lopez and Arnel Pascual of the Commission on Audit and the Parang, Maguindanao Treasurer who failed to prove Ampatuan’s participation in the grant of the contract to the four suppliers.
“There is nothing in other documents, or in the testimonies of then prosecution’s witnesses, that would establish how accused Ampatuan participated in the alleged falsification in SB-17-CRM-0898 to 906. Therefore, such evidence is insufficient to support a verdict of guilt inside cases insofar as accused Ampatuan is concerned,” the Sandiganbayan said.
“This court finds it unnecessary to determine the existence of the elements of falsification under Article 171 paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code. Wherefore the demurrer to evidence filed by accused Datu Sajid Islam Uy Ampatuan is hereby granted. SB-17-CRM 0898-0906 are hereby dismissed as to accused Ampatuan for insufficiency of evidence,” the Sandiganbayan added.
Ampatuan earlier requested on a 90-day suspension as mandated by the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Rules of Procedures of the Sandiganbayan in connection with pending P98 million graft and malversation charges lodged against him.
The P98 million was supposedly intended to procure of palay, corn seeds and fertilizers from a certain Tamoni Enterprises. Such purchase, however, was never made.