Sandigan puts Bataan town mayor under 90-day suspension
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has placed Limay Mayor Nelson David under a 90-day preventive suspension, as the anti-graft court tackles the graft cases filed against him.
In a July 25 resolution of the Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division, the incumbent Bataan town mayor is ordered “to cease and desist from further performing and/or exercising the functions, duties, and privileges of his position.”
“The suspension of the accused shall be automatically lifted upon the expiration of the 90-day period from the implementation of this resolution,” added the resolution penned by Associate Justice Karl Miranda.
David is facing two counts of graft charges due to the town’s allegedly anomalous purchase of land supposedly owned by his children.
According to David, he should not be suspended as he has not been the town’s municipal mayor for more than nine years, and that it was complainant Lilver Roque who sat as Limay mayor for three consecutive terms.
David only won the mayoral race for Limay in the May 13 elections.
However, Sandiganbayan cited Section 13 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which states that public officials charged of criminal offenses involving defrauding government may be preventively suspended to prevent the said official from impeding in the investigation.
The court also noted that one of the requirements to suspend a public official, which is to be charged under a valid information, was sustained by the accused when he entered his plea.
“The Informations filed against accused David are valid […] Accused David was arraigned on August 1, 2017, during which he entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ to the charges in the said Informations,” the Sixth Division said.
“Having entered his plea, accused David is deemed to have waived any objection he may have on the validity of the Informations under which he was charged, except on the following grounds: 1) the Informations charge no offense; 2) the Court has no jurisdiction over the offenses charged; 3) the penalty or the offense has been extinguished; and 4) double jeopardy has attached,” it added.
A copy of the suspension order has been forwarded to the Department of Interior and Local Government for implementation. If David is acquitted of the charges, he is entitled to possible reinstatement and benefits not given during his suspension would be returned. However, these benefits would be forfeited if he is convicted.
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.