by Allan Yves Briones
In a six page resolution, the Sandiganbayan Second Division ruled that there is enough evidence on its face to convict former Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro of his graft charge.
“After going over the records, the Court finds, and so holds, that the evidence presented by the prosecution, testimonial and documentary, as well as the admissions and stipulations of the parties, appear to be prima facie sufficient to sustain a conviction, unless successfully rebutted by defense evidence,” Justice Oscar Herrera Jr. wrote.
In 2012, Navarro approved the allegedly anomalous purchase of a P14.75 million hydraulic excavator which was flagged by the Commission of Audit.
In their evaluation report, state auditors wrote that the bid was awarded to RDAK Transport Inc. despite its failure to fully comply with required technical specifications – engine power and bucket capacity, among others.
Navarro was thereafter issued a Notice of Disallowance, and subsequently faced charges for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices act to which he pleaded not guilty.
Prior to this resolution, on May 3, 2019, Navarro filed a motion for leave to file demurrer which is tantamount to filing a motion to dismiss the case for a lack of sufficient evidence on the side of the prosecution.
Also undersigned in the resolution are Associate Justices Michael Musngi and Lorifel Pahimna who both expressed their concurrences. #