Guiuan execs must prove ‘Yolanda’ destroyed evidence in graft case

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    MUNICIPAL officials of Guiuan, Eastern Samar failed to convince the Sandiganbayan to take judicial notice that “Yolanda,” the most destructive typhoon in recent history, has erased records that could have cleared them of allegations of corruption.

    In a resolution, the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division only partially granted the defendants’ motion to take judicial notice but only to the extent that Yolanda made landfall in the Visayas on November 8, 2013.

    However, it denied the inclusion of the defense submission that the typhoon destroyed municipal records and documents, including those pertaining to the 2007 procurement of a fire truck worth P1.985 million that supposedly did not undergo the required public bidding.

    Charged in the case were Guiuan mayor Annaliza P. Gonzales-Kwan, municipal engineer Arsenio Salamida, budget officer Esperanza Cotin, municipal planning and development officer Ma. Nenita Ecleo, administrative officer Felipe Padual, and market supervisor Danilo Colandog.

    Associate Justices Sarah Jane T. Fernandez, Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero upheld the prosecution’s stand, denying all the matters and details included in the defense motion save for the date of Yolanda’s landfall.