Sandiganbayan suspends Agusan del Sur governor for graft
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan fourth division has ordered the preventive suspension of Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza for graft and malversation in connection with the fertilizer fund scam.
Based on the information charge sheet filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, Plaza and his coaccused allegedly conspired with one another to defraud the government of some P9,908,100 worth of public funds, in the purchase of several bottles of fertilizers.
The purchase was also conducted without proper public bidding, and failed to comply with the requirements of direct contracting.
Plaza earlier tried to ask the Supreme Court to stop the preventive suspension by filing a petition for certiorari in February, but the antigraft court said in its resolution that since the high court had not released an order yet, the pending resolution should not be cause for delay of the case.
“At this juncture, the mere fact that the petition is currently pending before the SC should not serve to delay the proceedings before this court,” the resolution said, noting that a preventive suspension of an official facing graft charges is “mandatory.”
A preventive suspension is typically ordered against a sitting public official involved in graft cases in order to prevent them from using their position to intimidate witnesses or frustrate the prosecution.
During the duration of the suspension, Plaza will not be able to receive salaries and benefits.
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.