Sandigan upholds suspension of DBM execs in pork scam
The Sandiganbayan on Thursday upheld its decision meting out a 90-day preventive suspension on Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos and three subordinates for their alleged role in the diversion of some P344 million of the pork barrel of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.
In throwing out their appeal, the antigraft court’s Third Division said it had already passed upon the reasons cited by Relampagos and members of his staff—Marilou Bare, Rosario Nuñez and Lalaine Paule—in their joint motion for reconsideration.
“The arguments adduced by the herein accused movants are a mere rehash of the arguments they had earlier raised when they opposed the prosecution’s motion for suspension pendente lite (pending trial),” the court said in a six-page resolution.
“After going over the arguments… the court finds no cogent reason to reverse its resolution ordering [their] suspension,” the court said.
Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, chair of the Third Division hearing the plunder and graft cases against Enrile, wrote the resolution. Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiroz concurred.
In sustaining its March 9 ruling ordering the suspension of Relampagos and others, the court said that Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, states that public officials indicted for criminal offenses “involving fraud upon government or public funds or property… shall be suspended from office.”
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