Ombudsman wants Budget usec sacked
MANILA, Philippines—The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday sought the suspension from office of Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, three of his staff members and six other officials facing graft charges in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
In a motion before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division, state prosecutors said the accused were still in active service despite the filing of criminal charges against them.
The prosecution said Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, explicitly stated that public officers facing criminal charges “shall be suspended from office.”
Citing a Supreme Court decision, it said the law “unequivocally provides that the accused public official shall be suspended from office while the criminal prosecution is pending in court.”
The state prosecutors said that since the accused have been charged and arraigned under a valid information, their suspension should proceed accordingly.
Besides Relampagos, also facing 15 counts of graft were three members of his staff—Rosario Nunez, Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare.
The four refused to enter a plea during their arraignment last week over the alleged funneling of more than P345 million in the pork barrel, or priority development assistance fund, allotments of detained Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to the bogus foundations of suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
The government prosecutors are also seeking the suspension of Marivic Jover, chief accountant of the Technology Resource Center; Gondelina Amata, president of National Livelihood Development Corp., and four of Amata’s subordinates—Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, Chita Jalandoni, Sofia Cruz and Gregoria Buenaventura. Marlon Ramos
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.