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Former La Union rep cleared of corruption charges

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29) — Former La Union representative Thomas Dumpit, Jr. has been acquitted of corruption charges he was facing over the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

In its decision signed on November 28, the Sandiganbayan First Division junked Dumpit’s graft and malversation cases due to the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

“This Court has repeatedly adhered to the policy that when the guilt of the accused is not proven beyond reasonable doubt, the presumption of innocence must be favored, and exoneration must be granted as a matter of right,” the court said in its 179-page ruling.

The court was not convinced that there was manifest partiality and evident bad faith as Dumpit was “simply carrying out acts required” for the release of funds.

It also favored Dumpit’s defense of forgery. The former lawmaker presented a forensic document examiner who testified that his signatures on documents certifying that the questioned projects were implemented were forged.

Also cleared of the charges are former Technology Resource Center (TRC) officials Dennis Cunanan, Francisco Figura, Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana, Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, and Marivic Jover.

Dumpit was accused of conspiring with TRC officials in the transfer of his pork barrel worth ₱5.8 million to the AARON Foundation Philippines, Inc. and Kabuhayan at Kalusugang Alay sa Masa Foundation, Inc. for the implementation of projects from 2007-2010 which turned out to be non-existent.