Sandiganbayan acquits ex-NGCP exec of criminal raps

MANILA The Sandiganbayan has acquitted a former executive of the National Transmission Corporation-National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) of criminal charges in connection with his alleged failure to declare his "business interest" in four corporations in his Statements of Assets and Liabilities (SALN) for four consecutive years.

The anti-graft court ruled that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of Gerry Buhain in the four criminal charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Wherefore, for failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, Gerry M. Buhain is acquitted in Crim. Case Nos. SB-16-CRM-0110, SB-16-CRM-0111, SB-16-CRM-0112 and SB-16-CRM-0113," the Sandiganbayan Special Seventh Division said in its decision dated Aug. 24, 2018.

Buhain was the Officer-in-Charge of the National Transmission Corporation-NGCP from 1985, prior to its privatization. He was division manager from 2003 to 2009.

The Ombudsman charged Buhain with violation of Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, when he allegedly failed to declare his "business interest" as incorporator of four corporations in his SALNs for the years 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.

The four corporations are the Electro Magnatech Trading and Services Corporation, Borscht Trading & Services Corporation, Fuji Aire Car Aircon Center, Inc. and Epicurean Palate, Inc.

The Sandiganbayan noted that Buhain has been charged with the mere non-declaration of his business interest/financial connection as incorporator of the four corporations.

There is neither allegation nor proof that he became an incorporator after subscribing to shares beyond his means as a public officer, or profited from the shares in his name, which he did not declare. Neither does accused Buhain's non-disclosure demonstrate an intent to conceal the fact that he was an incorporator of these corporations, as this fact is easily ascertainable from SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) documents, thus impossible to conceal, it said.

The Sandiganbayan also ordered the release of the cash bond posted by Buhain subject to the usual accounting procedures.

The anti-graft court also set aside the Hold Departure Order it issued against him on Mar. 21, 2016, and recalled and cancelled the order issued by the Bureau of Immigration, incorporating Buhain's name on the Hold Departure List. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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