KIDAPAWAN CITY(MindaNews / 15 Sept) — “Truth and justice have prevailed,” North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendozasaid after she was acquitted of three graft charges.
Mendoza was present when the first division of the Sandiganbayan rendered its decision on Fridayon her graft cases, which stemmed from an alleged anomalous transaction involving 2.4 million pesos of diesel purchased from her mother’s gasoline station in 2010.
In April 2016, the Office of the Ombudsman found it “scientifically impossible” for a local government unit to spend diesel fuel worth P2.4 million for heavy equipment in just two days of road maintenance operation. Then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said her office found probable cause to charge Mendoza for illegally procuring P2.4 million worth of diesel from the gasoline station of her mother, Noemi Talino.
In October that same year, the Sandiganbayan suspended the Governor for 90 days pending litigation.
“It is well appreciated that the good justices of the anti-graft court had remained true to their duty of upholding justice and fairness,” Mendoza said.
She said her acquittal is not only her victory as her name has been cleared but “foremost for the people’s faith in the fairness of the country’s judicial system.”
A press release issued on Fridayby the Office of the Provincial Governor said the case dismissal is also a manifestation that Mendoza is “true to her mandate of delivering ‘Serbisyong Totoo’ to her people in the province with sincerity, integrity, and accountability.”
Christoper Cabilen, legal counsel working for the Kidapawan City Government said Mendoza’s “legal vindication” is “moral victory.”
With Mendoza’s acquittal, Cabilen said he is more excited on the “political derby” in Cotabato province.
“As Governor Mendoza ends her term in 2019, her political opponents were praying heaven and earth that she will be convicted,” stressed Cabilen.
Mendoza, reports said, will likely run as vice-governor under the Nacionalista Party, with her father, Carmen mayor Roger Talino, running for governor, in the May 2019 polls.
Mendoza has yet to announce her plans. The Commission on Elections has reset the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2019 polls to October 11 to 17, 2018. (MindaNews)