THE camp of North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said the governor will voluntarily serve the 90-day preventive suspension ordered by the Sandiganbayan pending litigation of graft charges filed against her over an allegedly anomalous purchase of diesel fuel in 2010.
The governor’s camp received the suspension order on October 27.
In a statement, Mendoza’s lawyer Vincent Paul Montejo said, “North Cotabato Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza received today the order of the Sandiganbayan which puts her under a 90-day preventive suspension. While Gov. Mendoza maintains that the charges of graft filed against her have no basis, in deference to the Sandiganbayan, she has chosen to voluntarily serve out her suspension.”
The prosecution had asked the court to suspend Mendoza pendente lite (pending litigation), citing Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which mandates the preventive suspension of incumbent public officers facing a valid graft charge.
In a resolution promulgated on October 25, the court granted the prosecution’s move for the preventive suspension and directed the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement the suspension order upon notice of its ruling’s finality.
Earlier, the Office of the Ombudsman filed the charges against Mendoza, alleging that fuel worth P2.4 million was bought from a gasoline station owned by her mother without calling for a public bidding.
Mendoza’s camp has said she “relied on good faith” upon the Bids and Awards Committee’s determination that direct contracting was justified under the circumstances, adding that the purchases were made in line with the Government Procurement Reform Act.
REINA C. TOLENTINO