• Court suspends Tuguegarao City mayor

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    THE Sandiganbayan’s Third Division has ordered the 90-day suspension of Mayor Jefferson Soriano of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan pending litigation of the graft case filed against him and several others.

    A Resolution promulgated on November 2 and made public Wednesday, the anti-graft court denied Soriano’s motion which sought to apply or credit excess suspension of 130 days which he said he already served to satisfy the suspension ordered by the court last year.

    “Pursuant to this Court’s Resolutions dated February 28, 2014 and October 2, 2014, the Court hereby orders the suspension pendente lite [pending litigation]of accused Jefferson P. Soriano as Mayor of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, and from any other public positions he may nor or hereafter hold for a period of ninety (90) days effective immediately from receipt of this resolution,” the court held.

    The Office of the Ombudsman filed the case before the court against Soriano in 2013 along with former Philippine National Police Chief Jesus Verzosa and several other police officials.

    It alleged that the respondents awarded deals for rubber boats in 2009 without public bidding to suppliers who were not technically, financially, and legally capable.

    Soriano, who was a Police Deputy Director General when the alleged offense was committed, said in his motion that the Ombudsman dismissed him for grave misconduct before the court ordered his suspension thus the latter was no longer implemented.

    He appealed the Ombudsman’s dismissal to the Court of Appeals (CA) which held that he was guilty only of simple misconduct and orders his three-month suspension.

    The CA also ordered that he be reinstated as City Mayor since he was dismissed from September 11, 2014 until April 16, 2015.

    Soriano then argued that the 130 days excess suspension he served should be credited or applied to satisfy the Sandiganbayan’s suspension order.

    But the prosecution opposed his move saying that the administrative case against him (as City Mayor involving the conduct of the Presyo Agawid in Tuguegarao City in connection with which the Ombudsman dismissed him), and the case against him before the Sandiganbayan were unrelated.

    The Sandiganabayan held in part, “[T]he 130 days of excess suspension arising from an administrative case will have no effect whatsoever on the present case. Hence, the same cannot be credited to the suspension pendente lite ordered by this Court. The rule holds even more true in the present case, where the subject matter involved in the administrative case and the present case are completely unrelated.”

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