Sandiganbayan urged to suspend Relampagos, staff
MANILA, Philippines–State prosecutors have urged the Sandiganbayan to suspend Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and nine other government officials charged with graft for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
The prosecutors said the following officials should be suspended while the graft case against them is ongoing:
Relampagos, his budget staff Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare, Technology Resource Center (TRC) chief accountant Marivic Jover, National Livelihood Development Center (NLDC) president Gondelina Amata, her directors Emmanuel Sevidal and Chita Jalandoni, and staff Sofia Cruz and Gregoria Buenaventura.
The prosecution cited Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019 or the anti-graft law which says incumbent public officials facing a valid information of criminal activity should be suspended from office.
Relampagos is the only Cabinet official charged in the scam.
Relampagos and his budget officials were accused of expediting the release of the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to implementing agencies, and in turn to the bogus nongovernment organizations (NGO) linked to accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
The implementing agencies’ officials from TRC and NLDC were also accused of failure to implement the projects, leaving it to Napoles’ NGOs to use it in ghost projects for kickbacks.
The proceedings over the scam resulted in the detention at Camp Crame of three senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile who were charged for plunder. Napoles, meanwhile, is detained in Camp Bagong Diwa.
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