Manila court acquits Sandra Cam

NOT GUILTY A lawyer for Sandra Cam, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) director, her son Marco Martin Cam (not in photo) and five others are jubilant after a Manila court found them not guilty on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 over the killing of Batuan, Masbate Vice Mayor Charlie Yuson 3rd in 2019. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

A MANILA trial court acquitted jueteng whistleblower and former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board member Sandra Cam on Monday for the killing of Batuan, Masbate Vice Mayor Charlie Yuson 3rd in 2019.

Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 42 Judge Dinah Aguila-Topacio also acquitted Cam's son, Marco Martin, and five others for the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Yuson was shot dead by unidentified men in October 2019 in Sampaloc, Manila. His aide, Alberto Alforte, and Wilfredo Pineda were also injured in the shooting.

Yuson's wife, Lalaine, alleged that the Cams were involved in the killing of her husband because their son, Charmax Jan Yuson, defeated Marco Martin in the May 2019 mayoral election in Batuan.

In 2021, the Department of Justice (DoJ) indicted Cam and her son, as well as Nelson Cambaya, Junel Gomez, Bradford Solis, Juanito de Luna and Rigor dela Cruz for murder in connection with Yuson's killing. They were also indicted for the frustrated murder of Yuson's companion, Alberto Alforte 4th, who survived the attack.

Cam, who was appointed to the board of directors of the PCSO by former president Rodrigo Dutete in 2017, surrendered to the police the same year after a warrant for her arrest was issued. She insisted she is innocent of the charges filed against her and vowed to clear her name in court.

Charmax, who won his reelection bid in 2022, said they will file an appeal with the court.

The former PCSO official first made it in the news in 2005 as a government whistleblower, claiming she was the “bagwoman” of former president and now Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's son, Juan Miguel Arroyo, and brother-in-law, the late Jose Ignacio Arroyo, in payoffs for “jueteng,” the illegal numbers game.

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