Sandiganbayan orders preventive suspension of Bohol gov Arthur Yap | Inquirer News

Sandiganbayan orders preventive suspension of Bohol gov Arthur Yap

/ 03:44 PM October 29, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has placed Bohol Governor Arthur Yap on a 90-day preventive suspension over graft cases that he is facing in connection with his former post as Agriculture Secretary.

According to the resolution from the Third Division, Yap’s suspension is in accordance with Section 13 of the Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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Yap is facing 18 counts of graft, one count of falsification, and one count of malversation after former Misamis Occidental Rep. Marina Clarete allegedly allocated P62.63 million of her PDAF from 2007 to 2009 to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) the former was dealing with.

The accused, as Department of Agriculture (DA) chief, allegedly entered into a deal with one of the non-existent NGOs.

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The anti-graft court disputed Yap’s claims that the suspension order was premature as he has a pending petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court, which might restrict the court from continuing to hear the graft case.

“Admittedly, accused Yap has a pending petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court assailing the Court’s denial of his motion to quash. It bears emphasizing, however, that the Supreme Court has not issued a temporary restraining order and/ or writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the continuation of the proceedings in these cases,” the resolution said.

“Neither has the Supreme Court issued any restraining order or preliminary injunction in the petition for certiorari questioning the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause,” the court added.

They also contradicted Yap when he said that he could not interfere in the investigations because he does not hold the DA post anymore.  He is now occupying the gubernatorial post of Bohol, after edging opponent ex-National Food Authority chair Leoncio Evasco in the 2019 elections.

“While indeed accused Yap ceased to be connected with the DA since 2010 and that he has not manipulated evidence or intimidated witnesses, the presumption is that unless the accused is suspended, he may frustrate his prosecution or commit further acts of malfeasance or do both,” the Third Division explained.

On Yap’s assertions that the validity of the cases has not been established, Sandiganbayan reminded him that previous motions to quash the case based on allegations that it does not charge an offense have been denied.

The Department of Interior and Local Government has been furnished a copy of the suspension order. The court also noted that after the 90-day period, Yap’s suspension would be automatically be lifted.

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TAGS: Arthur Yap, Bohol, Department of Agriculture, Graft, Marina Clarete, Philippine news updates, Sandiganbayan, third division
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