Biazon volunteers to serve suspension
Muntinlupa City Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon has volunteered to serve his 90-day suspension while facing his pork barrel scam charges, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez formally informed the Sandiganbayan.
In a three-page compliance letter, Alvarez told the antigraft court’s Seventh Division that the House has transmitted Biazon’s letters to the committee on rules on October 19, the day it received the Oct. 17 suspension order.
“Pursuant to the nature of the House of Representatives as a collegial body, and in accordance with the provisions of the House Rules provisionally adopted on 25 July 2016 to govern the proceedings of the 17th Congress, the Speaker transmitted the Letter of Rep. Biazon dated 06 October 2016 and the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan promulgated on 17 October 2016, to the Committee on Rules on 19 October 2016,” Alvarez’s report read.
Alvarez told the court that Biazon manifested his “intention to serve out the preventive suspension once official communication is received by the House.”
Even two weeks before the court issued its order, Biazon wrote an Oct. 6 letter that said he “will comply and abide with whatever order it will issue on the matter.”
On Oct. 19, Biazon wrote a second letter that said he had received the suspension order. He said he “will comply with the order… effective today without need or request for the Speaker’s further action aside from giving notice to the Court of the immediate implementation of the order.”
Aside from Biazon, the court also ordered the 90-day suspension of Department of Budget and Management undersecretary Mario Relampagos, and his staffers Rosario Nunez, Lalaine Paule, and Marilou Bare.
The case arose from Biazon’s endorsement of P3 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations, or pork barrel as Muntinlupa representative in 2007, to the Janet Lim-Napoles-controlled nongovernment organization Philippine Social Foundation Inc., with the now-defunct Technology Resource Center acting as the implementing agency.
Besides graft, Biazon and the DBM officials also face a malversation charge for the alleged misuse of the funds.
Graft and malversation charges were also filed against the lawmaker’s alleged agent, former Energy Regulatory Commission chairperson and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Zenaida Cruz-Ducut, as well as Napoles and former TRC executives Arturo Ortiz, Dennis Cunanan and Francisco Figura.
Biazon was likewise charged with direct bribery for allegedly receiving P1.95 million in kickbacks from alleged ghost projects. On September 6, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
An ally of former President Benigno Aquino III in the Liberal Party, Biazon resigned from his post as customs commissioner when the controversy erupted in 2013. –ATM
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