Pili mayor suspended for graft raps
THE Office of the Ombudsman on Monday announced the 90-day suspension of Pili Mayor Tomas Bongalonta Jr. of Camarines Sur for graft raps.
The Sandiganbayan sustained the motion of the Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor.
In a resolution, the anti-graft court's Seventh Division underscored that Section 13 of the Anti- Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act No. 3019 makes it mandatory for the court to suspend any public officer who has been arraigned under a valid Information.
“Once the information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, then the Court must issue the order of suspension as a matter of course. There are no ifs and buts about it,” it read.
“The presumption is that unless the accused is suspended, he or she may frustrate the prosecution of the case, commit further acts of malfeasance, or do both.”
Bongalonta caused the dismissal of municipal employee Eileen Ceron despite the Ombudsman’s order that she should only be suspended.
“[T]he accused knew fully well that the penalty of dismissal from the service has no legal basis, thereby depriving Ceron not only her office but also the salaries and monetary benefits attached thereto amounting to P955,285.06,” the information cited.