South Cotabato Vice Governor Pingoy acquitted by Sandiganbayan in PDAF scam

South Cotabato Vice Governor Arthur "Dodo" Y. Pingoy Jr. was cleared of graft and malversation of public funds charges by the Sandiganbayan Special Second Division.

It can be recalled that Pingoy, who was then the 2nd District Representative of the Province of South Cotabato, was implicated in the controversial pork barrel scam involving Janet Napoles.

In a 57-page decision released on Friday, October 20, 2023 the Anti-graft court absolved Pingoy of the illegal disbursement of P20 million from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), more commonly known as pork barrel. This acquittal was due to a lack of sufficient evidence proving that he received kickbacks from Napoles.

"There is no sufficient evidence that Pingoy received kickbacks from Napoles through [former Energy Regulatory Commission Chairperson Zenaida G. Cruz] Ducut. Even prosecution witness [Benhur] Luy admitted that he has never seen Pingoy, nor directly delivered to him any amount of money as kickbacks," it said.

"While Luy testified that he kept a document called the daily disbursement records (DDR) that contained Pingoy's name, it is not a convincing evidence of criminal liability of the persons whose names were indicated therein unless there is an equally sufficient evidence that will corroborate the entries in such private document. Pingoy should likewise be acquitted of this crime," the decision added.

On the other hand, Napoles, who was found guilty, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for malversation of public funds and 24 years for graft by the Sandiganbayan.

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