Anti-graft court reverses guilty ruling vs Butuan City barangay official

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Anti-graft court reverses guilty ruling vs Butuan City barangay official
The Sandiganbayan says Barangay Dankias Chairperson Adela Butcon did not commit graft when she allowed displaced families to temporarily stay in a vacant lot earlier awarded to other beneficiaries

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court overturned the guilty verdict handed by a lower court in Butuan City in the Caraga region to a village chief, who allowed displaced families to temporary build a shelter in a city government-owned lot. 

In January 2023, the Butuan City Regional Trial Court ruled that Barangay Dankias Chairperson Adela Butcon committed graft when she allowed spouses Carlos and Marissa Alas and seven other families to temporarily stay in a vacant lot that had earlier been awarded by the city government to other beneficiaries. 

The Butuan court also sentenced Butcon to imprisonment for six years and perpetual disqualification from public office. 

However, the Sandiganbayan First Division overturned the conviction in a decision on Friday, June 14. The anti-graft court also set aside the jail term. 

“The appeal is meritorious. Her act of allowing spouses Alas to be relocated was not motivated by bad judgment nor of palpably and patently fraudulent and dishonest purpose…nor a conscious wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will,” the Sandiganbayan said in its 18-page decision. 

It said it was a “justified government action” to allow the displaced families temporary shelter because there was a real and immediate need to do so at the time. 

The Department of Public Works and Highways was clearing the Agusan Riverbank of shanties to prevent seasonal floods. 

There was barangay council resolution, asking the city government to prioritize the affected families in relocation efforts, thus the permission given by Chairman Butcon to the displaced families. 

However, the earlier recipients of the lot award from the city government, spouses Harold and Ginalyn Otaza, sued the barangay chairperson for graft and for causing them undue injury. They also alleged that Butcon allowed the Alas couple to stay in the property because they were related by marriage.

The Sandiganbayan sided with Butcon, saying she was merely implementing a council resolution and that allowing homeless families to build temporary shelter was not a crime. That she was related to one of the families was also beside the point, the court said, because it was a fact that the Alas couple were among the displaced. 

Finally, the Sandiganbayan said the Otaza couple could not have incurred injury over the lot because they were mere awardees and not yet its owners. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!