San Juan City official faces suspension pendente lite
15 March 2017
Dante Santiago, the incumbent Chief of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of San Juan City was ordered suspended pendente lite for 90 days by the Sandiganbayan in connection with his trial for Technical Malversation (Article 220, Revised Penal Code).
In a four-page Resolution issued by Associate Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada, the anti-graft court directed Santiago to cease and desist from further performing the functions, duties and privileges of a chief of the CENRO.
The Sandiganbayan granted the Ombudsman’s motion to place Santiago under suspension reiterating that there are no “ifs” and “buts” in its ministerial duty to issue a preventive suspension order under a valid Information.
“That the accused is now currently holding the position of Chief of CENRO of San Juan City, a position different from that of a member of Sangguniang Panglungsod (SP) of San Juan City when he allegedly committed the offense charged and, therefore, no longer in a position to influence witnesses or tamper with evidence in this case, is immaterial as the Court has neither the discretion nor the duty to determine whether preventive suspension is required to prevent the accused from using his office to intimidate witnesses or frustrate his prosecution or continue committing malfeasance in his office,” the Court explained.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed graft (violation of Section 3e of the Republic Act No. 3019) and Technical Malversation charges against Santiago along with co-accused Senator JV Ejercito, other members of the San Juan SP and city officials in connection with the unlawful purchase of high-powered firearms worth P2.1million in 2008. The Sandiganbayan, however, acquitted Ejercito and the city officials on the charge for violation of R.A. No. 3019. ###