FORMER President and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga was slapped a 90-day suspension over the graft charges she is facing in connection with the botched $329-million National Broadband Network-ZTE deal.
In a four-page resolution, the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division noted that the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act allows the suspension pendente lite of an accused public official.
Under the law, an incumbent public officer can be suspended from office if “he has a pending criminal prosecution under a valid information or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property whether as a simple or as a complex offense and in whatever mode of participation.”
“Wherefore, accused Ma. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is hereby directed to cease and desist from performing and/or exercising the functions and duties, as well as receiving and/or enjoying the salaries, benefits and privileges of her present public position or any other public office or position she may now or hereafter be holding, effective upon notice thereof and continuing for a period of 90 days,” the court said.
It ordered Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to enforce the suspension order against Arroyo.
The Office of the Speaker confirmed that it has received the Sandiganbayan’s resolution.
The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division is composed of Associate Justices Jose Hernandez, Ma. Cristina Cornejo and Gregory Ong.
Arroyo’s co-accused in the graft complaint are her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo and former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos. The Pampanga lawmaker is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City because of a pending P366-million plunder charge leveled against her for alleged misuse of the state charity’s intelligence fund.