Sandiganbayan acquits Monico over computer, IT package controversy

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The Second Division of the Sandiganbayan  acquitted former Congressman and Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella and his co-accused Jessie Garcia over the alleged overpriced purchase of information technology  packages distributed to different city schools.

The procurement in question was made when Puentevella was still representative of the Lone District of Bacolod City.

In his decision for Criminal Case No. SB-14- CRM- 0108 and promulgated on Nov. 16,2020, Associate Justice Oscar Herrera Jr., said that Puentevella and Garcia are acquitted “for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”

The accused are also “absolved from any civil liability,” a copy of the 34-page decision obtained Monday by Negros Now Daily showed.

Also signing the decision along with  Herrera were Associate Justices Michael Frederick Musngi and Bayani Jacinto.

The decision was certified by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje- Tang.

Puentevella was charged for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019) for the alleged overpriced purchase of the IT packages worth P26 million using his Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF when he was a congressman.

The computer/IT package was reportedly bought at P400,000 each.

The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division suspended Puentevella as city mayor for 90 days beginning Sept. 8, 2015 due to the graft case.

The anti-graft court also lifted the travel ban imposed against him and ordered the release of the bail bond he deposited before the Sandigan for his provisiinal liberty.