Sandiganbayan places Bataan local execs under suspension pendente lite
20 December 2017
The Sandiganbayan has placed three local executives of Limay, Bataan, under suspension pendente lite in connection with their trial for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019). Ordered suspended pendente lite for 90 days are Municipal Assessor Jocelyn Linao, Municipal Treasurer Felicidad Cruz; and Engineer Rolando Flores of the Department of Public Works and Highways 1st District Engineering Office.
In a Resolution promulgated on 23 November 2017, the anti-graft court sustained the motion filed by Ombudsman prosecutors citing the mandatory character of Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019. The court explained that “preventive suspension under Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019 applies to any office the officer is currently holding and not necessarily to the particular office in relation to which he is charged.” The Sandiganbayan added that the law on preventive suspension “is so clear and explicit that there is hardly room for any extended court rationalization of the law. It unequivocally mandates the suspension of a public official from office pending a criminal prosecution under R.A. No. 3019.”
Linao, et al. are facing trial for the alleged irregularities in the appraisal of a parcel of agricultural land owned by Richie Jayson and Christian Ryan David, sons of former Limay Mayor Nelson David. In October 2002, the respondents, as members of the Municipal Appraisal Committee, caused the extraordinary increase in the market value of the lot by pegging its value at P10,180,380.00 by referencing the valuation set for residential land and not as agricultural/pasture land as indicated in its tax declaration. The property was later on acquired by the municipality based on its overvalued appraisal.
Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019 directs the suspension of any incumbent official against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid Information, for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property, as a simple or as a complex offense, and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation, is pending in court. ###