Sandiganbayan clears Dimaporo of graft in fertilizer fund scam
MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan acquitted Lanao del Norte 2nd District Representative Abdullah Dimaporo of graft and malversation for lack of evidence that he falsified documents in relation to a fertilizer scam.
In a decision dated March 28, the anti-graft court's 2nd Division granted Dimaporo's demurrer to evidence, challenging the prosecution's proof that he pocketed financial aid for farmers amounting to P5 million in 2004, when he was Lanao del Norte governor.
Dimaporo cited state auditor Edwin Canios' testimony that 22 farmers from his district all received fertilizer from Lanao Foundation, Incorporated (LFI).
The Sandiganbayan said prosecutors failed to present enough evidence, including the inspection and financial status reports.
"The falsity of the acceptance reports and the distribution list of farmer beneficiaries was also not established and no witness was presented to prove that accused Dimaporo falsified documents," the court said.
"The failure of the prosecution to prove all the elements of the crime of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents cast reasonable doubt on the guilt of accused Dimaporo," it added.
According to the Office of the Ombudsman, the purchase and delivery of at least 10,000 sacks of fertilizers never happened. The purchase was supposed to be under the Farm Inputs and Farm Implement Program of the Department of Agriculture.
Investigators said the money supposed to be used was traced to LFI, which was established by Dimaporo in 1994. – Rappler.com