Court guard in hot water for asking P20K from Napoles defense lawyer
MANILA, Philippines—First, he allegedly asked a private lawyer for a P20,000 donation for his office “Christmas party.”
Second, the questionable solicitation was done in the Sandiganbayan antigraft court.
Third, the lawyer he approached for money is a defense counsel of Janet Lim-Napoles, who is on trial in the same court.
It’s beginning to look a lot like a problematic Christmas for Ronald Allan Gole Cruz, a Sandiganbayan security guard who was ordered suspended for allegedly soliciting cash from a lawyer of Napoles, the businesswoman tagged as the brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
The suspension order came Wednesday all the way from the Supreme Court.
“[C]onsidering the gravity of the imputed wrongdoing, which can be classified as grave misconduct and/or conduct prejudicial to public interest, and considering further the long holidays ahead, it is necessary to place respondent Cruz under preventive suspension,” the high court said in an en banc order.
“Now, therefore, you, respondent Cruz, are hereby preventively suspended pending the outcome of this administrative matter, effective immediately and until further orders from this court,” the tribunal said.
The Supreme Court’s order stemmed from a complaint filed against Cruz by his fellow security guards over his “alleged solicitation of money from the counsel of a party in a case pending before the Sandiganbayan.”
According to the order, the complainants alleged that Cruz asked for P20,000 in cash from Stephen David, a lawyer for Napoles who is facing graft and plunder charges in the antigraft court.
Cruz allegedly asked for the amount from David, claiming that it would be used for the security officers’ holiday celebration. The other guards, however, denied knowledge of any plan to ask donations for the affair.
According to the order signed by Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the Supreme Court gave weight to the allegations and found the information filed against Cruz “sufficient in form and substance.”
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