Malicious mischief charge versus Jalgalado, dismissed

MANILA--The Sandiganbayan has found Capalonga, Camarines Norte Mayor Senandro Jalgalado not guilty of the crime of Malicious Mischief penalized under the Revised Penal Code, for insufficiency of evidence.

In an 18-page decision promulgated on May 17, 2019, Associate Justice Lorifel Pahimna said: "The prosecution failed to prove that the third element [the act of damaging another's property merely for the sake of damaging it] is existent."

"There was no clear showing that accused acted due to hate, revenge, or otherwise stirred by any evil motive," the decision reads.

"The allegation of the private complainant that accused was motivated by hatred and revenge because he filed a case against said accused before the Office of the Ombudsman for destroying his coconut plantation situated in Sitio Unaque including his home located at Purok 3, Poblacion, Capalonga, Camarines Norte, has no probative value and is self-serving, considering that he did not present any evidence both documentary and testimonial to corroborate such allegations," it continues.

“In the absence of any proof beyond reasonable doubt that the act of the accused in damaging the property of herein complainant was motivated by hate or revenge for the sake of damaging it, the instant case against them must necessarily fail,” it concluded.

Meantime, the Sandiganbayan also acquitted then-municipal engineer Wilfredo Caldit Jr., administrative aide Francisco Jueves Jr., and “Team/Task Force Demolition” members Fernando Gonzales, Adonis Arecia, and William Doe.