GOVERNMENT prosecutors have asked the Sandiganbayan to issue a suspension order against Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo pending litigation of the graft and malversation cases filed against him and two others over the alleged illegal disbursement of calamity funds in 2012.
The prosecution cited Section 13 of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) which mandates the preventive suspension of incumbent public officers facing a valid graft charge or charged under Title Seven, Book II of the Revised Penal Code.
“In view of the fact that the Honorable Court has already passed upon the validity of the Informations and herein accused Governor Roel Degamo has already been arraigned last 14 August 2017, together with his co-accused, the prosecution moves for his suspension from office,” it said in a motion to the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed graft and 11 counts of malversation through falsification charges against Degamo in 2016.
He was charged along with then provincial treasurer Danilo Mendez and provincial accountant Teodorico Reyes.
The Ombudsman alleged that the respondents, “conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another,” disbursed P143.2-million from the calamity fund released to the province when “there were no funds for the disbursements” and thereby causing undue damage to the government.
According to the charge sheets, the Department of Budget and Management withdrew on June 29, 2012 the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) which covered the calamity fund.
The respondents allegedly appropriated or misappropriated or consented, “or through abandonment or negligence, permitany other person to take the public funds…by making it appear that” funds were available.