Davao del Sur mayor found guilty of usurpation
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan Seventh Division has found Mayor Vicente Araneta of Matanao, Davao del Sur, Fernandez guilty of usurpation of official functions for issuing several memos while he was detained for murder in January 2015.
Fernandez was sentenced to up to two years, 11 months and 10 days in jail for violating Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code.
The case stemmed from Fernandez’s insistence on issuing several official documents, including memos, business permits, cheques and other disbursement vouchers, while under detention at the Matanao Police Station, and then at the Provincial Rehabilitation Center in Digos City, Davao del Sur.
Fernandez had argued that he still had authority as mayor, despite his arrest, since the Department of the Interior and Local Government did not suspend him.
But the court said his arrest meant he had no more authority to issue official documents and memos.
“An arrested and detained individual cannot practice profession, engage in any business or occupation, or hold office, elective or appointive,” the 30-page decision said. —Patricia Denise M. Chiu
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