Sandiganbayan acquits Surigao del Norte mayor of graft over hiring of ex-judge sister as consultant

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The Sandiganbayan has acquitted San Benito, Surigao Del Sur, Mayor Rushford Dedumo and his sister, Municipal Circuit Trial Court judge Flordeliza Dedumo-Coro, of graft charges over her alleged hiring as a consultant.

In a recent 12-page decision, the court’s 4th Division said Ombudsman prosecutors failed to probe Dedumo employed his sister despite the Supreme Court dismissing her as judge and perpetually disqualifying her from public office in a September 23, 1996 ruling.

Prosecutors failed to present Coro’s appointment paper, service record or daily time record, as well as the municipal payroll, the court said.

Although the Commission on Audit reported she received a P22,760 cash advance for her travel expenses in 2010, the court believed Coro’s explanation that she only attended a meeting with Philippine National Bank officials to advise her brother about negotiating a loan since he was then a neophyte.

Since Coro did not receive payment for her service and refunded the travel expenses later, the court, in the decision penned by Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto, held her in “good faith in the absence of any evidence to prove otherwise.”

Coro could no longer serve in the government as penalty for the administrative offenses of undue delay in the disposition of cases and indiscriminate archiving of cases.

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