Court suspends Negros mayor

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The Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division has ordered the 90-day preventive suspension of Mayor Reynaldo Tuanda of Jimalalud, Negros Oriental pending litigation of the graft case filed against him.

A statement issued by the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday said Tuanda is accused of “granting himself a permit to operate or engage as a cockpit promoter from January 8, 2010 to December 31, 2010…”

The Ombudsman said Tuanda has argued that the Information (charge sheet) was not valid because the word “operate” was used which supposedly “gives an impression that” he “is a cockpit promoter involved in the operation of a cockpit when such is not the fact.”

But the court said in part that “[t]he use of the word ‘operate’ does not render the information invalid.”

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“Since the Information filed against Tuanda is sufficient in form and substance, it is incumbent upon this Court to place the accused under preventive suspension,” it added in part.

The court also directed Negros Oriental governor to implement the suspension order.
Based on the resolution, Tuanda pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned last September.

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