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SC reverses anti-graft court’s conviction of former PADF exec

THE SUPREME Court has reversed the decision of anti-graft court Sandiganbayan convicting a former vice president of the Philippine Aerospace Development Corp. (PADC).

In the High Court’s decision on May 19, Antonio M. Suba, former acting vice president for the PADC’s maintenance unit, was acquitted for failure of the prosecution to “prove beyond reasonable doubt all the elements of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) under which Petitioner was charged.”

PADC was an attached agency of the then-Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC).

On Sept. 22, 2017, the Sandiganbayan found Mr. Suba “guilty beyond reasonable doubt” of graft and corruption for attending a conference in Beijing, China on Oct. 10 to 14, 2006 using government funds worth over P241,000 despite the disapproval by then-DoTC Assistant Secretary Emmanuel A. Cruz  of the authority to travel

On Sept. 12, 2014, Mr. Suba paid the Commission on Audit the full cost of their travel upon the agency’s request, but the graft case proceeded.

Mr. Suba was sentenced to six years and one month to 10 years in jail.

He appealed the case before the Supreme Court by claiming that his travel companion and superior, the late Roberto R. Navida, then-PADC president, had said that they already had a travel authority.

The High Court ruled that no conclusive evidence was given that Mr. Suba knew of the lack of travel authority.

It said “there is no such thing as presumption of bad faith in cases involving violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. On the contrary, the law presumes the accused innocent, until proven guilty.” — Bianca Angelica D. Añago

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