Sandiganbayan acquits former crime lab chief accused of falsifying Alfie Ducayag’s med cert
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has acquitted a former head of a forensics laboratory in Central Visayas, who was accused of falsifying a medical certificate on the death of Mario Alfie Ducuyag in 2013.
The Sandiganbayan 2nd Division, in a decision dated on January 31, 2020, cleared former Senior Superintendent Nestor Sator, who was the chief of the Regional Crime Laboratory in Central Visayas, on charges of falsification of a medical certificate and obstruction of justice.
The complaints lodged against Sator pertains to the reportedly conflicting findings of the autopsy between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI – 7) on the death of Ducayag.
The 14-page decision stated that Sator, through his autopsy results, ruled Ducayag’s death as asphyxia due to bleeding pulmonary tuberculosis which was later debunked by a reautopspy done by NBI – 7.
NBI – 7 cited traumatic injury to the neck as the cause.
However, the court said the discrepancy between the two set of results “cannot be the basis of a conclusion of knowledge of falsity on the part of the accused (Sator)”.
“Given these circumstances, the difference in the findings does not warrant the conclusion that the autopsy report made by accused Sator is a falsified document,” the document stated.
The Office of the Ombudsman earlier filed charges against the former chief of the regional crime lab, accusing him falsifying documents to show that Ducayag died due to asphyxia brought about by bleeding pulmonary tuberculosis.
On April 13, 2013, security personnel of a mall in downtown Cebu City held Ducayag under their custody for questioning, on suspicion of shoplifting after he allegedly failed to show receipts for a pair of high-end slippers inside his shopping bag.
The father of two died on the same day.
The Sandiganbayan cited failure of the prosecution to prove Sator’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt as their basis.
“The prosecution failed to establish that the autopsy report prepared by the accused would greatly affect the criminal investigation or proceeding of the death of Ducayag,” the document said.
“It was in fact accused (Sator) who advised the mother and siblings of Ducayag to lodge a complaint against the security personnel of the mall because of the presence of erythema in his autopsy report,” it added.
The 14-page decision was signed by Associate Justices Oscar Herrera Jr., Michael Frederick Musngi, and Lorifel Lacap Pahimna, and certified by Presiding Judge Amparo Cabotaje – Tang.
In line with their decision, the court also directed to return the bail Sator has posted, and to lift the Hold Departure Order issued against him. /dbs
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