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Ace Durano, 5 others acquitted over 2009 calendar graft case

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter | May 15,2024 - 02:57 PM

Ace Durano, 5 others acquitted over 2009 calendar graft case

Former Tourism Sec. Ace Durano | file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has acquitted former Tourism Secretary Joseph Felix Mari ‘Ace’ Durano and five others over the graft case involving a 2009 calendar campaign that went without public bidding.

The Second Division of the High Court granted the appeal of Durano’s camp to reverse the Sandiganbayan ruling that convicted them for graft for the P2.7-million project.

The SC made its decision on January 22, 2024. Copies of the resolution were released to members of the media on May 15, 2024.

READ: Court affirms conviction of ex-tourism chief Ace Durano

Aside from Durano, the others acquitted were Eduardo Jarque Jr., Oscar Palabyab, Grace Yoro, Evelyn Cajigal, and Adriana Flor.

Meanwhile, the former Cabinet member said in a statement that he welcomed the development, adding that they are confident with the SC to rule in their favor.

READ: Anti-graft court convicts Ace, other DOT officials over wall-calendar project; Durano unfazed

“I had faith in the SC to see through the baseless accusation,” Durano said.


Based on the SC’s 25-page ruling, they found out that the prosecution failed to prove Durano and others ‘guilty beyond reasonable doubt.’

READ: Ace Durano sees better chances of winning Cebu governor’s seat

While the SC ruled that the respondents did violate certain procurement laws, they pointed out that the prosecution failed to present proof that Durano and the rest gave ‘unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference through manifest partiality and/or gross inexcusable negligence.’

“There was likewise no allegation or proof that the subject procurement was overpriced. Lastly, there was no allegation or proof that Durano et al. personally benefitted from the project,” they said.

READ: Ace backs UniTeam candidates

“All told, there is no proof beyond reasonable doubt of the facts and circumstances evincing corrupt intent on the part of Durano et al. Thus, this Court is constrained to rule that the elements of the crime charged were not proven beyond reasonable doubt,” they added.


In 2021, the Sandiganbayan convicted Durano and the other accused for graft and sentenced them to six to 10 years in prison with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

It stemmed over a case lodged by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2019, accusing Durano conniving with officials of the DOT bids and awards committee in giving PDP Digital Inc. unwarranted benefits for “conceptualization and development” of the calendar “without competitive bidding.”

The anti-graft court affirmed its decision in 2022 when Durano’s camp filed motions for reconsideration.

For his part, Durano said that the project, as their other projects, had gone through the proper process and was a response to the needs of the industry during that time. / with reports from the Philippine Daily Inquirer


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TAGS: Ace Durano, cebu news, graft

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