A bill eliminating “unnecessary” preventive suspension has been approved at the House of Representatives on its second reading.
Davao del Norte Rep. and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the principal author of House Bill 6590, said public officers who are no longer connected with the office wherein the offense charged was committed will be exempted from preventive suspension.
Alvarez, in a statement, noted that preventive suspension is imposed to avert an accused from influencing potential witnesses or tampering with records.
He said the provision is in line with the spirit and intent of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, since the change in circumstances of the public officer will “effectively” remove such threat.
The bill states that if the incumbent public officer is convicted by final judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any law.
If the convicted officer, who may have been separated from service, has already received benefits, he should return them to the government.
If the convicted public officer is acquitted, however, he will be entitled to reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits that he failed to receive during suspension, unless administrative proceedings have been filed.
The bill also cuts the period of preventive suspension to just 90 days, provided that in case such elected public officer is no longer connected with the office wherein the offense charged was committed, the preventive suspension order shall no longer be implemented.
The House of Representatives will decide on whether the bill will be enacted into a law when the plenary sessions resume later this month.