Court clears 2 ex-Makati execs of graft raps

MANILA – The Sandiganbayan has acquitted two former Makati City officials charged along with former Mayor Elenita S. Binay in connection with a PHP72-million government contract in 1990 for furnishing of the New City Hall of Makati.

In a decision dated February 21, the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division acquitted Luz Yamane and Ernesto Aspillaga.

Yamane was the city treasurer from 1995 up to 2003 while Aspillaga was former head of the Makati City General Services Department.

The two had been accused of giving unwarranted benefits and preference in connection with the transaction for the supply and delivery of panel fabric partition and connector bracket for the furnishing of the new Makati city hall to Office Gallery International Inc. in a transaction valued at PHP72.06 million.

The case against Binay, wife of former Vice President Jejomar Binay, was dismissed by the anti-graft court in June last year.

The court cited that “there remains to be no direct evidence” against Yamane and Aspillaga in relation to the charge in the information.

After careful examination and evaluation of the evidence, the Sandigan said the evidence against Yamane and Aspillaga were “insufficient to support a finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”  Benjamin Pulta /PNA –