Cotabato official’s suspension sought

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The prosecution is asking the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division to suspend Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. of South Cotabato’s first district pending litigation of the graft charge filed against him in connection with cash advances worth about P2.5 million.

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The transaction was made in 2006 when he was mayor of General Santos City.

In its motion, the prosecution cited Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which mandates preventive suspension on any incumbent public officer facing a valid graft charge.

“Considering that the validity of the information in the instant case had already been established, and invoking the mandate of the law and jurisprudence, suspension of all the accused pending litigation is now mandatory,” the prosecution said.

It then asked the court to issue an order suspending Acharon Jr. “from his office and any other public office which he may occupy pending trial.”

The Office of the Ombudsman charged Acharon Jr. of graft in 2012, along with former General Santos City Finance Administrator Marcelino Dospueblos and private individual Chriselda Macion, for causing two cash advances totaling P2.5 million for the “Pagana Dinner Show and Tambayayong Festival” in Los Angeles, California.

Macion was the president and representative of General Santos City Tourism Association Inc., a non-government organization.

The respondents knew “fully well” that the sum was intended for 37 participants when only 17 were able to participate in the said festival, according to the charge sheet, “and, thereafter, the said accused failed to liquidate the amount of P2,500,000.00 thereby causing undue injury to the Government in the aforesaid amount.”

REINA TOLENTINO

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