The Sandiganbayan has acquitted former Caloocan representative Mitch Cajayon-Uy on graft charges.
Anti-graft court justices were unanimous in clearing giving Cajayon-Uy, acquitting her on two counts of graft, one count of malversation of public funds, and one count for malversation through falsification of documents.
“The decision of the Sandiganbayan today is proof that we have an effective and fair justice system in place,” Cajayon-Uy said as she acknowledged the Sandiganbayan ruling handed down on Friday.
In their 92-page decision, the magistrates were one in saying the prosecution failed to substantiate their allegations against Cajayon-Uy. They said the prosecution failed to prove the accused guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The court also directed the lifting of the hold departure against the Cajayon-Uy and her five co-respondents.
The suits stemmed from alleged misused of her P10-million share of the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in May and June 2009. The cases were filed in 2015 with the Office of the Ombudsman which elevated it to the Sandiganbayan in 2018.
“Our acquittal today is vindication that we never committed any of the criminal allegations hurled against us. This is a testament that the criminal prosecution against me was nothing but persecution by the former administration directed at known allies of former President
GMA” Cajayon-Uy said in a statement.
“It is unfortunate that our judicial system, especially the Office of the Ombudsman, has been utilized as a political tool contrary to its original mandate as protector of the people,” she added.
According to her, the Office of the Ombudsman was mandated to be the “protector of the people, armed with the power to prosecute erring public officials. But in doing so, it must ensure that the decision to prosecute is independent of public opinion, personal vendetta or political influences.
Cajayon-Uy cited the leadership manifested by Ombudsman Samuel Martires in protecting the office’s integrity by “ensuring that cases are heard on their merits and not swayed by party politics.”
The former lawmaker described her ordeal as “nothing but selective oppression of political opponents” of the previous administration.
She regretted that government officials like herself who have been “wrongly accused” were made to suffer through the rigors and expense of a full-blown trial before the Sandiganbayan because of the selective prosecution of PDAF cases.”
“Not only that, we and our families suffer besmirched reputations and are branded as corrupt, and this discrimination causes us undue stress and sleepless nights, but we are not entitled to any form of compensation for the damages we endured,” the former lawmaker stressed.
Cajayon-Uy is currently see ing another term as representative of the Second District of Caloocan City.