Sandigan suspends hospital chief
The head of the state-run Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) and three other hospital personnel have been ordered suspended for 90 days by the Sandiganbayan over the allegedly anomalous purchase of a piece of medical equipment worth P45 million in 2004.
The Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement Wednesday that the antigraft court’s First Division granted its motion seeking to suspend QMMC chief Dr. Angeles de Leon, nurse Luz Padua, medical technologist Michael Raquel and nutritionist Milagrina Jacinto.
The Ombudsman said the officials of the Quezon City-based hospital were facing trial for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, or Republic Act 3019.
It cited a section of the law that bars government officials from causing “any undue injury to any party or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”
The antigraft court ordered Health Secretary Janet Garin to immediately implement its order.
The Ombudsman said the case against Padua and the others stemmed from the irregularities in the purchase of a magnetic resonance imaging machine from Fernando Medical Enterprises for P44.9 million.
Citing a resolution signed by Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz, the First Division chair, it said the law “unequivocally provides that the accused public official shall be suspended from office while the criminal prosecution is pending in court.”
“The law leaves no room for interpretation such that the court has neither the discretion nor duty to determine whether preventive suspension is required to prevent the accused from using his office to intimidate witnesses or frustrate his prosecution or continue committing malfeasance in office,” De la Cruz said in his ruling.
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