crimes in the Philippines

Trial court acquits Sandra Cam, others over Masbate town vice mayor slay

Dwight de Leon

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Trial court acquits Sandra Cam, others over Masbate town vice mayor slay

ACQUITTED. PCSO board member Sandra Cam during a congressional inquiry on February 26, 2020, on the update by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on the status of its Peryahan ng Bayan games and small town lottery.

Darren Langit/Rappler

(2nd UPDATE) Then-vice mayor Charlie Yuson III of Batuan, Masbate, was shot dead by unidentified men in October 2019 while having breakfast outside a house in Sampaloc, Manila

MANILA, Philippines – A trial court cleared former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board (PCSO) member Sandra Cam of murder, in connection with the killing of Batuan, Masbate vice mayor Charlie Yuson III in 2019.

In a decision promulgated on Monday, January 16, the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 42 also acquitted her son Marco Martin Cam and former Batuan vice mayor Nelson Cambaya. All three can now walk free from detention.

“In light of the fact that there are pieces of evidence that foster doubt on the guilt of the accused, that doubt should be resolved in favor of the accused,” the ruling read.

Yuson was shot dead by unidentified men in October 2019, while having breakfast outside a house in Sampaloc, Manila.

Yuson’s wife Lalaine had alleged that the Cams were involved in the killing of her husband, because their son, Charmax Jan Yuson, defeated Marco Martin in the May 2019 mayoral election in Batuan.

The Cams have vehemently denied the allegations.

On Monday, Cam’s legal counsel said they were glad that “justice has prevailed.”

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Thank you Lord! All praises unto you,” the older Cam said. 

Yuson’s son Charmax, who won his reelection bid in 2022, said they will file an appeal with the court.

Dismayado po kasi buhay ng tatay ko ang nakasalalay dito (We are dismayed because it’s the life of our dad we are fighting for),” he said.

Aside from the two Cams and Cambaya, the Department of Justice in 2021 also indicted four individuals for murder and frustrated murder in connection with the case, namely: Junel Gomez, Bradford Solis, Juanito de Luna, and Rigor dela Cruz.

The trial court did not acquit the said four individuals, and only “sent to the archives” the cases against them, as they “remain at large” despite their standing arrest warrants. –

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.